If I’d hitched a rocket ride the day after Heidelberg United’s last home win, I’d have had enough time be 25,000,000 miles away, on the planet Venus. Or I could have made a round trip to Mars, a mere 7,600,000 miles from Melbourne. It’s been a long time.
Venus would be my pick. Because for Venutians, it’s only four* days since our last home win over Port Melbourne. In earth time – at the time of writing – it’s now been an utterly exhausting 484 days since we last tasted success at home, in May, 2019. And 441 long and confusing days since our last home goal, when little ‘Obe Wan ‘ O’Brien put us ahead, only for Hume to pull a reverse ‘cardiac kids’ and take the points.
Knowing that it may be hundreds of days still to come before we see yellow and black run out to play at Olympic Village again, luxurious Facebook postings of the progressive refurbishments aren’t helping. I miss home. I miss the gang. Match day and strolling into Catalina Street to be greeted by a chill south-westerly gusting down the ground.
But I might as well be on Venus, such is our odd virtually virtual existence. Everything exists only through social media. We touch our friends through a keyboard, we see pixelated faces on a laptop screen. It’s as if we’ve fallen into an M.C.Escher** lithograph, where everything kinda looks familiar, but nothing is what it should be.
I’ve seen and spoken with Galea, Steven Pace, JW, the Mexican and one or two others remotely, but reality seems so surreal and distant. I watch Kenny Taylor’s show each week. I watched him play lifetimes ago. Rocking up to Olympic Park with an esky full of VB long necks was a Sunday ritual. Fast forward to a time when I can get arrested for merely walking out my front door.
And the ‘Cardiac Kids’, well they’re just like footy cards now. Memories. I heard just recently that the ‘Sheriff’, Lucas Derrick, has ridden out town and into the sunset. They tell me big shorts is heading to Bentleigh Greens. Byles, little Cat, Cahill, Alex, O’Brien, all now scattered to the wind. One of the greatest teams in the history of the club, yet now in this dystopian Melbourne of September 2020 they are just like glossy footy cards, in my isolated mind.
It feels like only a year or so ago I had the best and most complete set of footy cards imaginable and some bully has grabbed them and tossed them into the wind and I’m watching them flutter away. Talking like a space cadet, I know. But travelling to Venus will do that.
* For those still puzzling over this, one Venutian day is the equivalent of roughly 117 Earth
days. Go on, Google it if you have to!
** He’s the Dutch dude who did all those weirdly wonderful etchings of staircases which
appear to go up and down, but closer inspection reveals the staircases to be not as they
seem. Yep, more Google. Try looking up ‘Relativity’, by M.C. Escher. Then say, ‘ooh, I know