Footy tale turns out to be pie in the sky

It was about as uninviting as a Dipper Dimmeys and Forges ad.

As clumsy as Aaron Sandilands doing the robot on a crowded dance floor.

To say that St Kilda versus Melbourne was not the kind of game you would put on the highlights reel is like saying Brendan Fevola had only a couple too many at the 2009 Brownlow.

No more than 23,464 brave souls found themselves at the ‘G last Saturday, fully aware that what they were getting into was probably not going to be electrifying.

What was served up was worse than anyone could imagine.

The little league provided by far the best, error-free passages of play seen all day. 

Saints players fell over themselves. Demons players spoiled their own players. 

The point post was hit on the full multiple times and the only man to stand up above this rabble was a bloke wearing the inspiring number of 37, Beau Wilkes. 

We were up in the boondocks on level four of the Ponsford Stand, in an area called Q34.

After a boring first quarter, only made bearable by the pack of enraged Melbourne fans in front of us who truly had it in for Colin Sylvia, my father nipped out at quarter-time to grab the holy grail of all footy food – an overpriced, lukewarm meat pie. 

I settled in to watch those awkward around-the-ground quizzes and listen to the girls behind me discuss how it was totes random to run into Jessica buying a Coke before.

With no sight of the old man and four renditions of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck later, I was wondering if he had got involved in some bizarre pastry-related mugging. 

I’d heard the price of shortcrust had gone up recently.

When I had given up all hope and consoled myself to the fact my father, like Steve Irwin and Peter Brock, had gone doing what he loved (hunting meat pies), he reappeared. 

He may have been ragged, sweating and panting as he collapsed into the seat next to me, but he was not defeated, defiantly holding the pie and sausage roll in his sweaty hand. 

It seems what started out as an innocuous trip to purchase some baked goods of dubious quality had transformed itself into an epic adventure, something straight from the sweeping verses of Milton or Dante. 

The tale of the only open pie shop at the ‘G.

Here was a man who had overcome true adversity.

After persevering through setback after setback, closed window after closed window, he found the one food store open way down on the bottom level. 

He handed over his life savings for the goods, all the time dreading the return trip to the fourth level.

Chariots of Fire rang in the background as my 64-year-old father pulled himself up the steps, leaning on the photo of Paul Reiffel to catch a breath on level two. 

He looked up. An insurmountable number of steps loomed before him. 

He continued on, his vision blurred as he neared bay 34, staggering, breathless. 

Only the thought of that first bite into his sausage roll kept him going in those final steps.

There were moments he doubted he could do it, but he made it.

After I patted him on the back soothingly and told him at least he could console himself with the knowledge he had worked off the pie, he looked sheepish.

That hadn’t happened at all. The lazy sod had taken the escalator.


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