“They’ve been playing for twenty minutes and nothing’s happened”, I heard the five year old sitting next to me say to his father at today’s soccer match at Gosford. I was reminded of the episode of “The Simpsons” where there’s an off-field riot due to the lack of on-field activity at a visiting soccer match in Springfield.
His dad was one of those blokes who you just know could have done a much better job than the referee if given the chance. The referee was clearly an idiot without anywhere near the level of experience or insight as the bloke sitting next to us.
Unfortunately his level of interesta and enthusiasm seemed to be washing over his son. Although I discovered the son was playing soccer at school, he seemed far more interested in trains. “Can we catch the XPT back?”, I heard him ask. Peppering his conversation with words like”Countrylink”, the son seemed far more interested when he saw a freight train go by than with anything to do with what was happening on the ground before us.
I was reminded about my own similar lack of interest in sport as a child. “They’re running away from the ball more than I did”, I commented to Damo, at one point about the team from New Zealand. “They’re phoning it in”, Damo responded with a laugh, noting the lack of activity in the match between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix (NZ).
As Damo was born in Wellington, and then settled on the Central Coast in his teenage years, I asked him who he was going for. At the end of the day I think we both hoped Wellington would win (and they did, undeservedly in a Stephen Bradbury-like contest). I don’t know about Damo, but I kinda felt sorry for Wellington because in the vast sea of yellow and blue (I could have worn my Swedish shirt) of Central Coast supporters, Wellington seemed have just one sole supporter in the audience, sitting in the row in front of us. Given his response to the sole goal scored during the match in favour of Wellington, I suspect he’s still celebrating now.
I don’t remember the last time I’ve been to see a soccer match, but when I got the invite last night, I said yes instantly I thought it would be an interesting and different way of spending the afternoon. And it was.
I caught the train to the Central Coast around lunchtime and it was reasonably quiet, meaning I could read the papers (the most interesting thing was the Madonna-Guy Ritchie divorce stuff), and even have a sleep before arriving at Gosford station.
We both enjoyed the match a fair bit. In the boring bits, Damo had his new camera to play with while I enjoyed the father-son commentary with a sense of familiarity and amusement.
We left just before the end when the result was clear, to avoid some of the crowds. As we walked towards the car, we passed the now infamous Iguana Joes where Belinda Neal and John Della Bosca met their Waterloo. Unfortunately it was closed, which we both thought unusual for a Sunday afternoon. So we hopped in the car and just came back. As it was, the trip back to Sydney was fairly smooth sailing, aside from a few snarls here and there.
Back in Surry Hills, we had a bite to eat an old favourite, the Dhaba Restaurant. A pretty good Sunday, eh?