Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TEXTING (05/18/17)
- TITLE: First Score...
By Noel Mitaxa
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But whenever she’s watching her football team on television a new demeanour emerges, as she retreats into a new, noise-filled world of red and black; and her texting fingers assume warp-speed.
Her sister shares the same red and black passion, and they maintain a torrent of instantaneous texting across the distance of a two-hour drive; offering each other a running competitive commentary on all that’s unfolding on the screen. And on what should be unfolding.
Before each game starts, they tap “First score ” into their phones; awaiting the actual play. If their team scores first, they both quickly add “wins!” and press send. Conversely, if their opponent scores first, the alternative prediction “loses!” hurtles through the ether, with each of them hoping to beat the other.
From there, it’s fun to hear (second-hand) the exchanges between them. Though it was less than hilarious for one game.
It was April 25th twelve years ago, when her team - Essendon - was playing my team – Collingwood – for the annual Anzac Day game as over eighty thousand fans packed into the Melbourne’s home of Aussie Rules football – the MCG.
A bit of background…
Anzac Day is a national holiday that commemorates the first time Australian and New Zealand troops fought under their own flags, landing in 1915 on the heavily-fortified beaches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, near the Black Sea. Anzac is an acronym of Australia – New Zealand Army Corps – and Anzac Day starts with dawn services and ceremonies across both nations, with the afternoon given over to celebrating our freedom through sport.
The big theme throughout the day is ,i>Lest We Forget – to remind us that freedom has a high price tag. Twelve years ago, the stage was set for a close match, but Essendon took the game by the scruff of the neck. Texts kept coming with mock concern about my blood pressure; how happy was I; was I still in the room; and generally rubbing it in.
As a Collingwood supporter, I’ve grown used to such barbs. But you know you have a strong club when every other team is a traditional rival. In one hundred and twenty years of competition, we have played off forty-one times. This great record is not enhanced by the reality of only winning fifteen of those premierships, but we dream on.
Aussie Rules is a fast-moving, high-scoring game, in which fans frequently express their doubts about umpires’ eyesight – and sometimes even their parentage. Step in corporate sponsorship, in the form of a national optical lens manufacturer – whose logo now adorns the back of every umpire’s shirt - but I expect no sponsorship will ever try to solve any uncertainty about their parenthood…
Yet even with high-scoring, sometimes a margin looks too big to challenge, and this Anzac Day game, combined with the text commentary, was rapidly losing its attraction. By quarter-time, I knew it was time to get some work done in the woodshed, free of any further comments.
With no radio to feed any sense of depression, I sorted and stacked a few metres of firewood. And time flew.
Through the shed door, the sun was spraying the gold of late afternoon light onto my back. When suddenly I felt it blocked by a shadow. It was my wife, wearing a wry smile on her face and holding out her phone for me to read the text. Against all the odds and the earlier momentum, Collingwood had won.
And the text summed up two ladies’ feelings with a slight twist on the theme for the day:
BEST we forget!
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