DIARY OF AN END OF SEASON FOOTY TRIP
The end of season footy trip is an Australian tradition like “Two Up” or questioning if Bindi Irwin is in fact evil. For the country footballer it’s a time to spend days with a group of mates in close proximity that you have spent nearly every day together for the last ten months. A time to get away from your local town where everyone knows your name, social faux pas and your highly contractible “recreational” viruses/rashes.
For the Corro Chooks, this year I took it upon myself to organise a getaway that would not only be fun and provide great memories for years to come, but also allow me to use the next few days as the completion of my community service for the “watermelon incident.”
The average cost of a footy trip is around $800 per man per day, not including go cart racing money. So being long term unemployed it’s always tough to find a way to fund this annual trip of a lifetime. Luckily for me living in the timekeeper’s box at the footy ground has its advantages, each evening rain hail or shine I’m out on the ground watering our sacred battlefield, beer in hand. The club appreciate my volunteer green keeping/security work; theft of soft drinks is at an all-time low, although beer theft is steadily rising, they pay me a small wage. Working on the gate game day and selling bogus raffle tickets to opposition supporters also contribute to my footy trip fund. Another nice little earner is the three lots of petrol money that I receive from nearby towns. Back in my playing days I would attend the first night of preseason at a nearby club, being told I was “an embarrassment to the game and they would rather their club fold than have me as a player” always hurt but the weekly payments to keep me from returning eased the pain. Even now long retired the money keeps rolling in.
I was lucky enough to be able to hire a bus and driver in the form of Porridge Delaney, a local farmer who used it on a school run and to transport fat lambs to the sale yards each Thursday. For $200 Porridge would provide his bus and drive it, all I had to do was clean the sheep droppings from under and on the seats.
With the mode of transport sorted I then went to the local screen printing store “Tristan’s Embroidery” to get shirts for all the lads. Including Porridge there were twelve of us, so I decided on “The Original Dirty Dozen” for a theme, Tristan told me that it couldn’t be original if there had already been another Dirty Dozen. I suggested he keep his customers happy or one may start untrue rumours that his wife’s daycare centre is in fact an illegal sweat shop.
A footy trip shirt must always have the name of the attendees on the back, nicknames are a compulsory. Our group were as followed;
Bumnuts: Young fellow, new to town, no nickname? We prepared this one earlier.
Showbags: Full of crap, everything he tells you is a lie or exaggerated.
Bruce: Real name Mitchell, gets overly excited, raises his voice regularly and commentates during training.
Gator: Dresses like a pimp, uses the frame “That’s how I roll.” A lot.
Bull: First time he got drunk, rolled all over a cow hide mat professing his love.
Pothole: Always in the way.
Bipple: Once passed out on lawn, mates cut holes in his shirt resulting in sun burnt nipples.
OJ: Every group has one, on a night out drinks juice while everyone gets drunk; takes home stunner.
Long Pockets: Dodges a shout like Ricky Nixon dodges responsibility.
Porridge: Unsure, presuming it’s because of acne scars or he really likes porridge.
Pup: Metro bloke with designer sleeve tattoo, girlfriend spells her name Christeenahh.
Megashlong: I gave myself this name, because if I know women, they are interested in Transformer puns and subtle clues as to what lies beneath.
I sent out a text for the group to meet out the front of the post office at 5.50am for a 6am start, no exceptions. Unfortunately I slept in and having accommodation and the group’s spending money with me the boys had to cool their jets till 8.30.
Everyone seemed excited/agitated when I arrived, Bumnuts mum had come down to see her boy off and she was naturally apprehensive about his first trip away with men. I sensed her unease and gave her a reassuring hug that lingered a little too long according to Mrs Bumnuts. We boarded the bus ready for our trek to the big smoke, we had travelled about nine metres when Gator decided to crack open the first beer and the first “that’s how I roll”.
The footy season is a long hard grind, where sacrifices are made and discipline is key. For many players had made a commitment to each other and decided not to drink alcohol the night before a game, thus limiting them to six nights of the week. So this release of being able to drink in an already foul smelling bus in the morning was just the start we needed.
To save time on our trip, I had cleverly rigged up a small length of garden hose and fed it through the seal in the bus door, allowing everyone to relieve themselves without the need to stop every five minutes. I decided to test it out first, it was working a treat for about 20 seconds until I realised that the bus door must have kinked the hose, causing its contents to return to the top and spill all over the stairwell, and Pothole, who for some reason was hovering around me while I was filling the hose.
For the next couple of hours things settled down a bit, the pungent stench of my urine seemed to have a calming effect on the group.
We arrived in the city around lunch time when we got to the backpackers hostel we were staying in, we were disappointed to find the strip club I had promised the boys was next door was in fact a stamp club. Showbags then proceeded to tell a story about the time a beautiful woman had given him a lap dance in a stamp club.
We then all assembled in the reception area to check in and get the keys to our room. Four rooms, three to a room, I had one objective. Make sure I am not sharing a room with Pothole or Bipple, Pothole has a 2lt pump bottle of hand moisturiser near his bed and insists on having the TV on all night. Bipple face times his wife about seven times a day and last year she saw Long Pockets perform an act called “frog’s eyes”.
I ended up with Bull and OJ, we all dumped our bags in our rooms and caught a train out to the races. For the rest of the day we lost the majority of our shared funds by following the lead of Gator who convinced us to only bet on horses with six degrees separation from Kevin Bacon. Badly sunburnt, looking like raccoons with our sunnies tan we then came back into town to a pub that claimed to have “best live bands in town”, that claim was false, it should have read. “Bloke that sounds like Jeff Buckley, after he drowned.”
We wandered around the city where Showbags pointed out areas where he had taken on multiple street thugs and won. Not to mention the time where he was invited to preseason training with Geelong but decided to walk away from an AFL career so as not to risk his lifelong dream of breeding a larger strain of ferret that wouldn’t be able to fit down rabbit holes thus making them totally useless and probably dangerous.
Porridge then took us to his favourite “karaoke bar” (I’m using karaoke bar instead of sleazy strip joint in case Bipple’s wife is reading this.) We walked in and low and behold Long Pockets had gone missing, forcing me to get the next shout. It was lucky that I had picked up OJ’s key card that he dropped at the last pub as it cost him $144. The usual stuff happened at the karaoke bar; Bumnuts fell in love with a “karaoke singer”, Pup got annoyed when one of the girls ruffled his carefully tussled hair and Showbags told an elderly Korean gentleman that he loves his culture and traditions because he bought a used Kia.
As we headed back to the hostel, Pothole stopped in at a 7Eleven to pick up a couple of magazines while Bull thought telling each group of ladies we passed that we were from the country would somehow make us more appealing.
Once in our rooms I noticed OJ was missing, no doubt he had successfully courted a young maiden, I lamented if only I were more selfish I may find love if I were not committed to moulding a group of young men into better citizens.
I awoke to the sound of Gator protesting his innocence in the hall way outside my door, hostel management had accused him of using the communal showers as a toilet. Gator countered by saying he had only vomited in the shower because the amount of vomit in the toilet was gross. And that was how he rolled.
We were asked to leave and because our second nights’ accommodation was not reimbursed we decided to return to the warm embrace of the urine soaked hell hole of Porridges bus. Once we were out of the hustle and bustle of the city, we stopped for breakfast where we reminisced about the time we’d had. Due to our state we were in the mood for a get rich quick scheme and thought if we could think of a great idea we wouldn’t have to go to work on Monday. Some of the better ones included:
Break into a casino, Oceans 11 style.
Buy a race horse in a syndicate.
Buy a pub.
Produce an adult film featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks starring Richard Gere
The remainder of the trip was fairly quiet, with many of us catching up on sleep. Bipple called his wife each time we went past an exit lane, to a town Showbags had at some point lived and/or sired illegitimate children. Pup was taking selfies while wearing a T Shirt that had a neck hole large enough for an Elephant seal to slip in to, while Bumnuts started counting guide posts till Porridge threatened “to flog him with the piss hose if he didn’t shut up.”
We arrived back in town around dusk, relieved to be home but glad we had taken this journey together. As everyone was heading their separate ways I called out to Bumnuts mum for a lift, she must have had a prior commitment and didn’t hear me as she careered over a median strip and narrowly missed Pothole.
I headed back to the timekeeper’s box weary but satisfied, I in some small way had been able to provide these young men with an Obi Wan Kenobi like figure. Where if they came to one of life’s forks in the road they would ask themselves, what would Megashlong do?
- The Lone Ruckman