“Wow!” Dimma thought. He had set up his email on his computer to have a special “ding” (at maximum volume) every time Sheeds sent him an email. It automatically tagged the email as “High Importance”, coloured it red, had an automatic Follow Up of within 15 minutes, moved it from the inbox to its “Master and Mentor” folder and sent a “Read Receipt” back to the man himself. “No flies on me”, Dimma thought – “Sheeds must think I am so great….”
He eagerly jumped on his laptop and clicked the email. His heart sunk. The email read as follows:
“Hi Dimma. It’s Sheeds. I will be away this weekend, at a Level 4 AFL Coaches Course, followed by a special guest appearance at the AFL Competition Committee meeting, where I will be presenting for 3 hours on how I see the national game moving into the future. Plus a full body massage at Endota Spa to finish it all off…but I digress…. Dimma. This means unfortunately that I won’t be able to coach the Mighty Maroons this week. I asked Timmy Hall to do it. He’s on a junket in the US. Wal is busy. Sam can’t do it. Matt can’t do it. So this means it’s you. I know that you are really keen to coach and I have been trying for weeks to get you to understand how to coach, sorry, trying for weeks to impart my knowledge upon you. This is it, Dimma. This is your opportunity. Never a better time to see if you have it in you. I will drop the wristbands over to you and some footys. And – the whiteboard. Yes, the magnificent whiteboard, that normally never leaves my side, with the magnets with all our great Maroons’ kids names and numbers on it. It’s very precious to me, so for goodness sake, guard it with your life!!! I have the utmost faith in you, Dimma. So – DON’T THINK!!!! DO!!!!! I am channelling the force! Yours in coaching forever, Sheeds.”
Dimma looked at the screen again. He read the email 10 times. This was it. It was time. Butterflies appeared in his stomach, buzzing and buzzing, trying to get out of his bellybutton. Drops of sweat fell randomly on the keyboard. Only 2 weeks ago, he was on holiday, decked out in his thongs and tshirt and now, back to reality. He now only had 1 minute 27 seconds to respond as per his default email follow up setting. His fingers hovered over the keys, shaking almost uncontrollably.
“Dear Master Sheeds, Thank you, oh thank you. I won’t let you down….it means so much to me. I don’t know what to say. Thanks for having faith in me. See you soon. Love, sorry, regards, Dimma.”
It was all Dimma could write. But he followed up with 12 seconds left. And that was the most important thing. He pressed ‘send” and then ran around his house, jumping and screaming with delight, high fiving the air and dabbing and flossing. A thought briefly crossed his mind as to what human being could possibly come up with the move that everyone called flossing and how a grown adult could be perceived if they proactively did it on a regular basis, but then again, he was at home, so who would know? If a tree falls in the woods…..What a day, WHAT. A. DAY. He got out his favourite Air Supply album and turned it up really loud, flossing from room to room to the sounds of “Two Less Lonely People in the World” – his favourite song when he thought of Sheeds.
So – it was with trepidation and a fair bit of excitement that Dimma found himself in a back street in Parkdale somewhere bright and early on Sunday morning. Some may say that getting a park at 5am in the morning shouldn’t be too difficult, but you haven’t experienced the back streets of Parkdale, especially near this ground. Regardless, Dimma was there and parked.
He got THE whiteboard out for the 97th time to check everything was ok and to go over his Plan B to Plan Q (inclusive), so that it was clear in his mind.
And so there we all were! Blowing a gale and Plan H came into play immediately.
Captains for the day were Jacob and Angus. They were rapt to stand up in front of the team – and everyone clapped. Well done and congratulations! They proudly led the team out onto the ground, followed by the flossing Dimma – cap perched jauntily on his head, humming Air Supply songs to himself…..hmmmmmm……..when does Sheeds get back?
Jacob and Angus unfortunately lost the toss, so the Rovers were kicking against the wind in the first quarter. And away the Maroons went! You may recall that last time the Maroons played Mordi Brae, they were fairly comprehensively beaten (though no one keeps score, we all know that) – but the team completely disregarded this piece of historical information and based their efforts on the huge upward trend of football development in the weeks since….
Arlo was putting on a clinic (no doubt for his family who had all come to watch) and Angus started like a house on fire. Battling in and winning the ball. Cate was going nuts in the middle and Bertie and Lucas were really setting the standard for the team, burrowing in and trying to get their hands on the ball – making a contest, which was what Dimma had asked them to do. Teddy laid about 3 tackles and gave a great handball out to a teammate and Sebastian was a rock down back, stemming wave after wave of forward attacks by the Mordi Brae side (see what I did there?!)….the team did really well in this quarter.
So – with the wind in the second quarter. Jason and Jack were pushing hard in the middle, and Jacob (aka Nick Riewoldt) was putting in what was probably his best game for the year so far – providing a tall target and contesting everything that came his way. Dan was enjoying the fact that he was feeling better again and was getting kicks down back and making sure his opponent was accountable. Charlie was in everything, manning up and throwing his body in fearlessly, which is becoming a regular occurrence! Tom and Sam were terrific in the middle also and big kicks from them were the order of the day. And then Jack kicked an amazing goal – AFL – eat your heart out!! Fantastic Jack!!!! Dimma was giving Kerryn an amazing aerobic workout, just when he returned from delivering a message, out he was going again – who said runners were becoming extinct?!! Sebastian did a great job evading a couple of players and drilled it towards goal, only for it to hit the post! Nearly got it, Sebastian – great effort!!
The third quarter was probably the team’s best quarter. They held Mordi Brae to just the one goal (kicking with the wind) and Angus baulked about 5 players, and drilled a goal for the Maroons against the wind – as we all know – worth about 3 goals in those conditions – well done Angus!! Harry was doing a great job up forward also and Xavier, in just his second game, was definitely holding his own in his position. Well done Xavier! Niko was starting to have an influence, and Alex also was beginning to throw himself around and use his height to the team’s advantage in the middle. Will was as brave as they come and was harassing and winning the ball for the Maroons at every opportunity. Well done Will!!
The final quarter – Dimma was heard to say – “just think of Rohan! Do it for Sheeds!! Don’t think!! Do!!! If you get the ball, kick it long down forward!!!!” and the team responded!! Harry dispensed with bouncing the ball (with Dimma’s words ringing in his ears) and just belted the ball forward at every opportunity. Jacob and Charlie were doing a great job at Centre Half Back & Back Flank, and Cate again was marvellous in the middle, making a 50/50 ball a win for the Maroons a couple of times. A forward thrust was met by Jason, whose ball then was picked up by Tim who kicked a great goal! Well done Tim!!! He was really a great presence up forward. Another foray up forward with the wind saw Dan pounce on the loose ball over the back of the pack and drill a dribble kick goal! Great effort Dan!! #savethedribble….. The Maroons were on the march!!! Unfortunately the siren sounded with the Maroons only 5-6 points down – but the kids had a marvellous time and their ability to put into practice what Dimma asked them to do is a credit to them all and they represented the Hampton Rovers FC brilliantly. So it was 3 cheers for Mordi Brae, 3 cheers for the umpires! Cate was presented with an award for her great game by the Mordi Brae coach – so well done Cate!
A special thank you to Luke for being assistant coach for the day, supporting Dimma with great advice, a shoulder to lean on and for managing the wristbands – certainly a job that requires solid planning and coordination!
And thanks to all the parents who got the kids to the game on a bitterly cold and windy Sunday morning and to those parents who volunteered on the day with medical, snakes, umpires escort, oranges, timekeeping and for keeping Dimma calm!! It is always so greatly appreciated. Thanks as usual to Maria and Fi for managing and to Razor for again donning the SMJFL high vis t-shirt to umpire and to Kerryn for stepping to be runner at the last minute!!
Also – finally – a big shout out to Jeremy (Jacob’s dad) who has been a bit crook but is on the mend thankfully and to his wife Carolyne for doing a great job, particularly getting Jacob there to be Captain on the day. We are all at the Rovers wishing Jeremy a speedy recovery!!
GO MAROONS!!! #gorovers