The weekend that I thought in June last year was never coming finally arrived. It started on the Friday evening, as all weekends do. I headed up to Boss James for the jumper presentation for three U8s, one U9s and two U12 Girls teams. The night was well attended and the club was buzzing. When Coach Walter asked his amazing tight squad of 27 Under 9s who wanted the #1 jumper, an enthusiastic roar of “ME!” was heard with a show of many hands shooting into the sky.
Fast forward to 7.00am Sunday morning, and here I was opening the Scarlett Wright Pavilion at Boss James with a coffee in hand and a huge smile. We were about to relaunch the greatest game there is!
It was time to set up the modified ovals, brief the Team Managers and volunteer umpires on the start procedures. I decided to stay on and act as the timekeeper – this turned out to be a healing process for me.
2020 was tough on many. I must say I missed football secondary to the interaction the game creates. I felt in some way responsible for our children not playing. I knew I shouldn’t be feeling this way, but I woke every Sunday last year, looked at a barren Boss James, and made a point to having a kick with my sons at 5pm every Sunday. I dreamed about what we lost and wondered when would we be able to play again.
As I stood to push the siren to start the season, a rush of memories from 2020 came rushing in. This was an emotion I didn’t expect. For the first two minutes of watching Mick’s and Rohan’s U10 teams I sat with tears in my eyes. It was a water shed moment. It was like a snake shedding its skin. We were back! And the sun broke through the clouds for a while and everything was good.
I watched many games over the next 8 hours and heard some great stories… hearing from Hamish about his U8 team and the joy they experienced; Walter (U9 coach) gave me a brief and played all 26 available kids, he was pumped, and Kim, the team’s Team Manager, told me this week at SpecSavers at Southland that the children and the parents were super invested in what Walter was saying and look forward already to next week.
This is what I mean by the interaction the game creates. It’s about belonging, a sense of security, feeling alive for a common goal, inclusive and respected. These are the values that Rovers are about. Individual and team successes were witnessed, but now is not the time to glorify these. The time to welcome mankind back to the greatest entertainment our children will witness is what’s back in vogue.
I wanted to shout it from the roof tops Sunday night! I got to see one of my sons back playing. I sat and listened to his stories over dinner, joined by a few teammates, over a Hampton Street pizza, and thought how lucky we are, living in the Bayside suburb, in the best city on earth, Covid free, playing and living the best sport going.
I love our Community and I love the ROVERS.
PASSION TEAMWORK FUN RESPECT
Two more sleeps and we do it all again.