My First Footy Memory

By Yihsan Richardson

Freezing. Absolutely freezing. Walking to the MCG as a young child is like walking through a jungle. Trees are substituted for people, all different ages and sizes. Holding Dad’s hand as we walk through the gates of the MCG felt like we had entered a whole new dimension. The sound, the smell and the atmosphere were something I had never experienced until that moment. I remember having to run to keep up with Dad’s fast pace and Mum telling me to “stop dawdling” (her words exactly, which are still used to this day).

Sat down. First floor. That first time I had heard the siren, it was like torture to my ears, but as I grew older I discovered that to many, the siren was a sound of joy. So there I was, a young five year old with my Essendon beanie and scarf, experiencing my first football match. The Footy Record kept me entertained, surprisingly for most of the game and every goal or behind I would turn to my Dad and say, “Who kicked that?!” I must admit though, I was caught many times by my parents just staring up at the roof because I was simply bored. Today, you would never catch me looking up at the roof. Half-time came and I clearly remember Skeeta the mascot for Essendon doing his “lap of glory” and me wanting to get a photo with him. So I ran down the stairs, two at a time, sort of getting pushed by Mum, hoping to catch the mascot in his tracks. Luckily, we got to the fence in time and I got a photo with Skeeta. From then onwards whenever I see Skeeta the memory of that day comes straight to my mind.

For us, half-time also meant food. Seeing all the food on display when I was young was like Christmas all over again. Chips or wedges were usually on the menu and did a good job of warming me up. I always thought that the third quarter should just be called “The Eating Quarter”. Fourth quarter for a young five year old was just plain crazy. I was completely amazed by the language that was coming from all the supporters around me and I thought that they had all invented a new language because I didn’t know what any of the words meant. Mum and Dad didn’t seem too happy though when I tried using the language too. As the margin got closer I could feel the tension from the crowd rising. Then it was over. Essendon had won against our rivals Carlton and Dad seemed very pleased. Walking home was just as crazy as walking to the MCG but a tad more hectic. I will never forget this day.

About John Harms

John Harms is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, historian, speaker and teacher. He loves stories.

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