When you’re a nerdy, uncoordinated person and you marry another nerdy, uncoordinated person and you make a nerdy, uncoordinated baby together, you figure you’ve got the whole genetics thing worked out.
Then you decide to have a second baby and it never occurs to you in a million years that – 16 years later – you will find yourself making excuses on cold winter nights to avoid playing football in the backyard.
Yes, you want to bond with your teenager, but surely there is some activity that could be shared at 8.30pm that doesn’t involve being thunked in the chest with a leather ball.
You also don’t expect to be dragged to the local oval on weekends to kick and throw a football around together, creaking and groaning as your 54-year-old body struggles to pick up all the catches you miss because you are a nerdy, uncoordinated person who was always the last to be chosen at high school for sporting teams.
And then there’s attending AFL matches at a blustery oval and paying $7 an hour for the privilege of parking in the middle of nowhere on the leafy Lower North Shore to watch your daughter joyously “bump” people and tackle them to the ground.
I have no idea why they call it “bumping”. That sounds so gentle and civilised. There is nothing gentle or civilised about women’s AFL. It is full on. Bumping involves extensive bruising. As for tackling, a girl on the opposite team took one look at the youngest baring down the field at her last match and begged for mercy.
“I am done! I’m done!” she squeaked. But the youngest is not a merciful football player and took her down.
Anyways, my ex and I have no idea how our nerdy genetic soup created our sporty daughter. We would be tempted to think she was switched at the hospital, except she looks the spit of my ex-husband’s side of the family, while her brain is disturbingly like mine.
Poor thing, what a combination.
Yesterday, the inaugural Sydney Swans AFLW team (above) came together for Day 1 of training.
I wonder if the youngest will feature in a photo like this one day?
She told me a few months ago that she wishes she could attend a boys’ private school, where sport is taken seriously. She also wishes the AFL she plays didn’t have a W in front of it.
She doesn’t want to be a boy, she just wants their opportunities.
It reminds me that while we’ve come a long way, it isn’t far enough for a competitive 16 year old girl.
Song of the day: “Up there Cazaly”