I was minding my own business and picking daisies when dad walked up to me and threw this strange shaped ball at me, it was a football. He said kick it- what does a kid in diapers do but try, miss the ball and loose his diapers ? but he patted me on the head and said ?you did good my son?.
We now go to when I was 12 and playing backyard football with the neighbours and kicking up pansies. This was never a problem for dad because he would sit and watch, applaud a good try, replant the pansies, and on a hot day he would go and get us a cold drink.
Years went past and every game I played ? he was always on hand and encouraging me ? sometimes too much, but he would always say, ?You did good my son?.
When I was selected to play for the ACT in the U/16?s he made a special effort to come across to Canberra and I thought to myself ? he looks pale?, but it may be the cold. I was working in Canberra and he was living in Harden an 90 minute trip by bus in those days, a long trip on a cold day.
He, as an ex first grade player came with me to meet the coach of my club, South Canberra. They had a good yarn about football and he made a friend that day. The coach could only speak highly of him. Dad took the side for a run and ran us through some new moves, which was tremendous. We used some of those moves to beat a highly fancied East Canberra in the semis, but we were not good enough to beat Queanbeyan Blues in the grand final. I didn?t think Dad would be there for the game but when we ran onto the ground at Seiffort Oval I heard a roar and it was Dad saying, ?come on boys?.
When the dust cleared from the battle he was the first into the dressing shed saying ?lift your heads guys ? it?s a game and you did yourselves proud?. He then started to sing Danny Boy, his favourite song. Well being young guys we listened then started to laugh. He had began to take the pain of the loss away.
It was further erased when he shouted us all a Chinese meal. I had a good look at him and thought? he looks awfully pale?.
I came back to Harden to play u/18?s and had a good season, I played lock and the side I played in was an ordinary side so it wasn?t hard to stand out. I was asked if I would go to Goulburn to try out for the U/18?s for Group 8. My father was there again congratulating me saying ?you did good my son?
When the sides where selected for a possibles and probables I had been selected at fullback ? a position I had played sometimes but not much. I played the first half and came off in tears as it was obvious that no representative from Harden was there to back up my claims of playing lock ? but my father pulled me aside and said, don?t worry son, I?ll speak to the selectors. Imagine my surprise when I played lock in the second half.
When the game was over Dad came over and said to me ?you did good my son? and put his hand on my shoulder. The team was named; I fell over with shock when I was named as lock and captain of the Group side. Evidently the selectors had been watching my previous games but Dad had reminded them that I was not a full back.
From there to my first grade debut ? I looked for my father but I couldn?t see him in the crowd at Crookwell. Geez I thought he?d be the first to be here. I didn?t think much of it, maybe he was down the pub, as he liked a beer and would wander up when the game started. Little did I realise he had died, a cancer took him away that afternoon, but mum had been sworn to secrecy by him.
I was shattered and many a time afterwards when I was "down" in the dressing shed after a loss I sometimes felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice in my ear saying ?you did good my son?.
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