The Slump

Picture this typical scene that springs up across the country at this time of year...

The captain of a park footy club is throwing an end of season BBQ at his place, and all the team (plus their acquaintances) have turned out in numbers. The Skipper takes it upon himself to read out some season stats before lunch: matches won, matches lost, matches drawn, tries scored, tries conceded- it's all fairly routine, until.....

"Special Mention must go to [insert your name here], our frontline goal-kicker, who has dazzled the crowds with returns of: 2 from 4 (not too bad), 1 from 3, 0 from 4, 1 from 4, none from five, none from six and none from seven".

You laugh it off, but deep down it is a blow to your pride (or in this particular crowd, more notably, your ego). While your ego may be hurt, everyone else's has been bolstered ten-fold.....

Firstly the team scorer, Billy, approaches you just as you had been making a move towards the esky containing some much needed tinnies (on that subject it looks like Billy has had a few cold ones himself). Billy, having never picked up a piece of pigskin in his life starts telling you that, "It's important to get behind the ball and line it up in the middle of the posts".

You resist the temptation to blurt out that you?ve already been doing this, but 'surprise surprise', it's not doing much for you. Unfortunately you're cornered. Billy has been talking with you (sorry, make that at you) for over twenty minutes now on an assortment of things to help you improve your game. From his Great-Granddad?s backyard battles, to the mathematical training system he has developed, you've heard it all. You don't have the heart to tell him that this conversation is really peeving you right off and decide you must plot an escape. You manage to interrupt Billy for a second and say "Excuse me, but I've got to go to the toilet".

The fact that this excuse is seriously flawed due to your inability to actually gain access to the esky containing the supposed liquid you need to excrete does not phase you. To look authentic, you do actually head for the dunny can. Upon your arrival you notice three women are already queuing outside the door waiting to relieve themselves. Faced with the prospect of having to talk to Billy again if you leave, you make the decision to wait in line.

This is a mistake.

The last woman in the queue is your Aunt Gilda (she's only at the BBQ because she donated $100 to the team for clothing funds). "The problem you have young man, is that you're not applying yourself. You've got to work harder if you want the rewards. Sometimes I think that people these days go into things without wanting to do the work". You think to yourself, "Hey get real, it's only park footy", then you immediately restrain yourself from saying it out loud. To say so would be blasphemous, you realise that it is no different to Test Football - this is the highest level of footy you've been able to reach and bugger it - you want to win!

Sure, park footy might have you frantically searching for a vortex that, if you?re lucky will swallow you up, but deep down you love it and must face your five team-mates waiting outside the toilet and listen to all the ?expert? advice they can possibly bombard you with.

Right from "kicking left-footed, it'll make you concentrate harder", to, "it might be an idea to abstain from sex the night before. I?ve heard it works wonders". The cream of them all however being, "I think to get back on track you need to kick some goals and score some points? ? ground-breaking stuff!

It is looking forlorn. Then, out of nowhere, you here a voice which truly does provide the answer to all your problems. Is it your original boyhood coach? No. Is it Master Coach Jack Gibson? No. Is it the voice of God? Well, not far away actually.

It is in fact the voice of Richie Benaud - chirping away on the television for the first time this year. Suddenly you realise that summer has arrived, cricket is here and you don?t need to worry about your goal-kicking for another six months!

Now if only you could get your hands on one of those tinnies!

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