As published by The Footy Almanac, 14 April 2013
One of my earliest footy memories is at my 1970’s style laminex kitchen bench perched on a matching orange stool listening to the ‘Captain and The Major’ call the Magpies on 3KZ. If I wasn’t tracking the progress with my Lego made scoreboard, there was a good chance I was drawing Billy Picken flying above a human pyramid, taking the specky to end all speckies! As soon as my father and two (considerably) older brothers returned from far-flung suburban battlefields, for some reason I’d always ask ‘what was on the banner’ and ‘who won the Little League?’ At six I’d experienced the odd game in the flesh at VFL Park so I guess those were the missing pieces of my afternoon’s imaginings.
As a little tacker there was little choice but to amuse myself most of the time, and when I grew bored with (somewhat tragic) self-invented ‘me v me’ games I’d crack out the coloured pencils. Footy was obviously an obsession, and drawing tributes to my heroes was an enjoyable distraction until Looney Tunes or The Goodies came on. Around the 1987-89 period my final burst of attempted footy artistry honored favourites such as Daicos, Millane, Brown and BT. Often they would be enacting a key moment I’d witnessed, but as much as I loved drawing the players, I enjoyed recreating the unique vistas of the various grounds – even the sponsors logos on the hoardings. I considered copying off photographs cheating, but now in retrospect, perhaps I was cheating myself from acquiring the skill to better represent the human athletic form. And ultimately I probably just grew tired of eking out the tedious crowds!
Now my little boy is developing an attachment to Collingwood, and interestingly, drawing. I’d barely sketched anything of note for 20 years, until recent secondments by Mr Six to depict all manner of animals, dinosaurs, cars, motorbikes etc. I manage to impress him and Miss Four, if no one else. “You’re really good at drawing Daddy”. ‘Yeah, thanks mate, not really’ I respond, disappointed at failing to even match my childhood efforts. Alas, whilst I can handle a camera and compose decent photographs, I find it frustrating not to reasonably transfer an image in my brain down my arm, into my hands and fingers and onto the page! Although my mother and sister are talented artists, words are my stronger suit.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what I managed to salvage from a yellowing old scrap book I feared lost.
With thanks to John Carr (@TheHolyBoot) for prompting this piece. It’s nice to know I’m not the only footy tragic whose misspent youth compelled them to while away the hours in such a manner.