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Memoirs of a Water Boy - The First of Many Seasons


The First of Many Seasons


The first game of the 2003 season was at Encounter Bay. I’d stepped back from several years of footy club commitments – committee member, A-grade Team Manager, Vice-President and President.

I was looking forward to hanging out on the sidelines, having a few beers and dishing out slurred advice to the coaches then, during the quarter and three-quarter time breaks, taking a cup of port to Barty behind the goals. The big fella was born with a pair of fluttering flags in his hands and a liking for a syrupy red.

‘I’ve allowed to have one vice, Al. It’s a cold and lonely life being a white maggot.’

My dream of retirement was short-lived.

‘Al, we’re desperate for a water runner. Can you help out?’

I said ‘No’ but obviously not with enough conviction. The next thing I knew someone had thrust water bottles into my hands, showed me which end of the bottle was ‘Up’, and pointed me in the direction of the oval. And a bloody big oval it is.

I wasn’t appropriately dressed: my flannelette shirt and Blundstone boots were more appropriate for milking cows or felling trees. I can’t remember if I had any help. Probably not. Didn’t matter. I got through the day and was trudging off the oval when one of the players ran over.

‘Thanks for running water, Al.’

Another player approached. Then a third. I’d never had so many ‘Thank Yous’ for doing what I considered was so little. Eighteen seasons later I continue to run the water (some have said that ‘run’ is too strong a word).

Thankless tasks by volunteers at all levels of any club should always command ‘Thanks’. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.


PS

Barty’s friend Harry took over my port-running duties and did it admirably until the big fella hung up his flags.