ON A BUS, THINKIN’ ABOUT FOOTY

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Former Division 3 Scribe and Kew 2013 premiership player Will Balme, writes from his travels around the USA on missing the footy. 
Saturday afternoons, or Friday evenings here in the vast and unusual country they call the United States of America, are when I feel the pangs of homesickness the most. In fact, it is probably the only time I get all doe-eyed with a wanton desire to book the next flight to the MCG. For the past three years I have strapped up to play for the mighty Kew Bears, the club I couldn’t love more if they started throwing out free parmigiana on a Thursday evening and hooked up hammocks for post-game recovery. In that time, I’ve only missed 3 games: all of them last season. One of them was to perform in a musical. Beaser nearly had a fit when I told him. ‘Now I’ve heard everything’ he bellowed in trademark fashion. Now on a Thursday afternoon my time, as I move closer to the East Coast and away from the blood, sweat and tears of the south, my attention again turns to the fate of my beloved Bears. Last season was a year to remember for us. The first senior premiership in 34 years, the seconds got up on the siren with the greatest point ever kicked by Luke ‘Mr.September’ Klasen (so proud he is of his last kick in competitive footy that he has yet to make his glorious return to Full Forward in the magoos) and we became a group of brothers. As the cliche goes, football clubs are more than just a place where blokes make jokes about showering together, someone’s ability, or alternatively inability, with the fairer sex and how much money the club captain makes. No, a good football club is an inclusive brotherhood for men of all sizes, cultures and well, footballing ability. We all want to win premierships but for me it is more the story of a club coming to win a premiership that is an exciting lesson in team building and individual growth.
Bear with me as I indulge in some nostalgia for a couple of paragraphs because the whole road to the Kew trio of premierships is one that is still so delightfully raw that my luscious chest hair (okay, there are 20 of them) is tingling in anticipation. Kew expanded its boundaries to accommodate four sides last season and with it a whole new group of characters and comedians. The diversity of such an intake must really challenge players and coaches alike across the league. You have to adjust to the cocky, the quiet and the bullish. One of the great things about the VAFA and amateur sport is that egos are not blown up with wads and cash and glorification. I’m not saying that there are not monster egos floating around, it’s just not quite as in your face. Of course, ego is not a dirty word and we all have an opinion of our place in both the football and literal world whether it be an overwhelmingly positive one or a dispirited one. Good sides generally can scuttle a big ego and bring him back to the pack whilst still allowing him time to fulfil his own personal needs. I’m talking Jack Delbridge’s weekly topless gallivant, President Joey Chessari’s love of the microphone and my… Well, when we talk egos, I’ve probably got one that is as large as the Crystal Palace and one that shatters just as easily.  
To read the rest of Will’s blog click [Read More]