The life acrylic

Synthetic grass

Thoughts upon visiting Australia’s first full-size synthetic footy ground
Saltwater Reserve, Point Cook, Victoria
Sunday 29 December 2013

Plastic grass
From wing to wing
From flank to flank
From one goalsquare to another

Plastic grass
As far as the eye can see
As far as the boot can kick
As far as the ball can fly
As far as the players can run

Too green to be true
Too perfect
The fake green grass of home

Opened in December 2011
A plaque tells me
Old news
I’m behind the times

Backed by the AFL
Says the plaque
And Cricket Australia
Cricket Victoria too
Built by the City of Wyndham

Fast-growing suburbs out here
Growing faster than the grass

No curator mowing here
No sprinklers and their rainbows
No dirt
No soil
No roots

But still grassroots footy
In a way
Home ground of Point Cook, the Bulldogs
Home ground of the future
Sign of the times
The life acrylic

Is there any give here?
Any soft landings for
Knees, ankles, heads, hearts?

And boots, with their sprigs and stops and fancy soles
Will they make their maps of each game?

And when it rains?
Will there be puddles and mud and dirty shorts?
Or just players slip-sliding away?
The life synthetic

Everything’s okay
The web tells me
Plenty of research
‘Performance characteristics, playability
Player comfort and safety’

Embrace the change
I tell myself
Embrace a new era
The future is here
The future is fake
Like a vinyl footy
(I don’t mind those lightweight balls
Forty five KPA is easier on the bones and the joints)

The future is fake
Like Friday night lights
Like a roof blocking out the sunshine
Like grass that never grows

I wish I’d had my boots and shorts
That Sunday, like most Sundays
And a body without its current aches
I wish I’d had my favourite footy
And half-a-dozen mates

I wanted to run and run
The ball bouncing truly
The Saltwater wind  at my back
The seabreeze in my hair
A mate leading perfectly  from the perfect green goalsquare

As I deliver the perfect pass
While running across the perfect grass

These thought were first posted at The Footy Almanac, where comments made reference to a Midnight Oil song about progress and the Phillip K Dick novel about androids dreaming of electric sheep! And there I was thinking I was just writing about footy.

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