Footy Town is a newly-published collection of football yarns from around the nation; stories which celebrate footy at its most local: from New Norfolk to the Tiwi Islands, from Rockhampton to Kalgoorlie, from Edwardstown to Fitzroy, and all the way to Mangoplah Cookardinia United.
My contribution to Footy Town is story called A Beautiful Set of Numbers. You could call it a father-son story. Or a road-trip story. Or a love story. Maybe even a footy story. Here’s how it starts:
Wednesday 28 July 2010. 10am, Melbourne
My son needs to clock up more learner-driver hours. I want to check out some scoreboards.
We open a country road directory, looking for towns and townships that have an oval. We don’t know if these places still have footy clubs but if they have an oval they might have a scoreboard. And that’s good enough for me.
We slap the plastic ‘L’ plates on the front and rear windows of the Tarago, fill in Jesse’s learner-driver logbook (time, odometer reading, road conditions, etc) and head out of the city, through the western suburbs and onto the Western Freeway.
We have mapped out a rough circle that will take in a half-a-dozen towns and four or five hours of driving. Jesse has 77 hours and 40 minutes of the required 120 hours before being eligible to go for his licence. I park myself in the passenger seat, relatively relaxed. Jesse is a careful, composed learner-driver.
We have sandwiches, drinks, maps, petrol, and camera. We have each other.
Footy Town is published by Malarkey Publications, the team behind the annual Footy Almanacs. My thanks to the editors, Paul Daffey and John Harms, for inviting me to be part of Footy Town.