VAFA C Grade Semi Final – Willy CYs v Marcellin: The Very First Time

I still recall the very first time I received the leather strap at primary school. I stood in a line with a few other miscreants at the front of the class; then, in return for what us quivering wretches thought was but a minor dismeanour, Sister Elizabeth delivered her favoured brand of retribution. The fear, the sting, and the aftermath of pain stay with me to this day.


I still recall the very first time I entered high school. That first day, entering the imposing building, and the feeling of relative insignificance as all about me bustled the bigger, older students of year 8 and beyond. The unknown looming before me, fostering a mixture of angst and anxiety that stays with me to this day.


I still recall the very first time I woke with a hangover. Regaining consciousness with a head pounding like a snare drum; shuddering at the thought of the previous night’s bed spins; swearing on my life that I would not again consume alcohol if this was the result. (An oath which lasted until the next time). The dryness in my throat and furriness of my tongue are horrible sensations that stay with me to this day.


I still recall the very first time I kissed a girl. How, in my approach, I fumbled and hesitated; and how I wondered what my tongue was supposed to do once it was in her mouth – and hers in mine. Afterwards I speculated: that the older and wiser I became, I would grow to better understand females – these strange and beautiful creatures. I speculate still, but the joyous experience of that pleasant shiver up my spine stays with me to this day.


I still recall the very first time I was caught in a wild brawl at a concert. As the boots and fists rained down on those in the throng, James Reyne exited the stage with his fellow Australian Crawl band members. Macca and I were stunned, rooted to the spot in stupefied silence. Once the fighting stopped, the band resumed “ohhh, Errolllll…”, but the sight of bouncers forcibly removing bloodied culprits from the Tarmac Hotel premises remains vivid in mind to this day.


I still recall the very first time I held my sons in my arms. The sheer awe and admiration for my wife, watching her introducing new life into this world. The feeling of satisfaction that, if I never achieved anything else in life, there was now some sort of legacy to which I could point. The buzz of those feelings of wonder and astonishment stay with me to this day.


This coming Monday, our Williamstown clan will recall the very first time that our football club played in a C Grade final. And at VAFA headquarters, no less. The thrill of watching the gold and blue entering the arena, of the underdogs taking it up to our old-boy opponents, and of defeating them to earn a preliminary final berth. The angst and anxiety, the fear and the thrill, the excitement and expectation. The awe and wonder. We will all forever retain the memories of that first time.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Good Luck

Leave a Comment