This week poem for Jon’s JVG Radio Method had the theme “HOME“, another one we were suprised that hadn’t been used previously.

Click to hear today’s poem… [audio:JVG_Poem2008010.mp3]

Today we chatted about the relationship between the StKilda Festival and bourbon (it’s not pretty) and about how flexible the word “home” is. Home can be your house, your city, your country and so on. It’s almost as versatile as another four letter word I can think of.

Ed Bates once again in the accompanist chair , playing slide guitar today.


Thursday nights, autumn through winter, come rain, come hail, rarely shine
Football Training began in earnest, no more earnest than the under nines

Kick to kick on a water logged oval, often as not close to flood
Many a mother took home the wrong child and not realised till they washed off the mud

Our coach, Frank Creevy, pock faced and weathered, seemed to us the oldest man alive
Looking back now, when I crunch all the numbers, he was probably around forty five

He’d coached all the teams, from the firsts to the juniors, and all of the sides in between
As bald as a frog, with a head just as glossy, the club christened him “Mr Sheen”

But the kids were his passion, their joy and their hunger, every kick, every mark brought a grin
Less of the agro, the ego and moods that came when the hormones kicked in

Three seasons he’d coached the under nine’s and only one win to his name
When the opposition team had an outbreak of ringworm, and were forced to forfeit the game

Flogged by ten goals, week after week, Frank still beaming “Well done”
A pat on the back, and “You gave it your best,” you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d won

A couple of parents thought him too easily pleased, with the message “It’s alright to lose”
He barked back “They’re children, having a go, let them grow into their shoes”

“They’re happy, they’re outdoors, keen and they’re trying — the score, I don’t give a stuff
As long as they’re feeling good in themselves — life will catch up soon enough”

The club was behind him and most of the parents, respected by players and peers
The loyalty they showed him, he gave back with interest, coached there for twenty eight years

Judy his wife, was no “Football Widow” a point she made perfectly clear
“If Frank is the pilot,” she said more than once “I’m navigator and head engineer”

She took care of the books, transport, catering, finance, equipment, first aid
Wiped a few tears, managed the egos, and like Frank, for the love, never paid

For a time in the seventies, the club nearly folded, nothing much left on the shelves
They organised fundraisers, working bees, raffles, even bought the new jumpers themselves

They were asked one night as they swept out the rooms if their home was anywhere near
Frank looked at Judy, Judy at Frank, and replied “Matey, you’re here”

“We’ve got a house round the corner, we occasionally visit, but only in summer and spring
But our home is right here, here in this paddock, from the goal square round to the wing”

Then out of the blue, Frank announced his retirement, the decision, as always, his own
Diagnosed with Ahlziemers, the club was in shock, like a king abdicating the throne

He went to the games for a couple of seasons, but the speed of decline was distressing
They proposed re-naming the cup in his honour, the league quick to offer it’s blessing

Frank finally made it to the District Final, the crowd cheered as he walked down the race
Climbed on to the dais, where as a coach, he was destined never to grace

He presented the premiership cup, with Judy, now utterly dependant on her
He smiled and shook hands, feigned recognition, but he had no idea who they were

His last photograph, shaking hands with the premiers, the first flag for that club since the war
Fate is perverse, it was the club he once coached, but then he never gave a rats for the score

© Copyright 2007 Ian Bland

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