“To meet violence with violence is to play to your opponent’s
strong point and your own weak point.”
Hanan Ashrawi 2004
A trio of Crooks stole the show with some sublime interplay, movement and finishing. The real miscreants, though, were the three opponents who took so badly to being plundered that they physically attacked our two teenage players!
Owing to the difficulties of navigating a busy Glenlyon Rd on the long journey from East Brunswick to Brunswick your correspondent missed Lu’s apparently excellent opening goal. The scores were at 1-1 and the game tight when I arrived. A few ‘robust’ challenges from Gilla gave the opposition a couple of set-piece opportunities but all the silky stuff was from the gowns of brown. Sebastian, the fill-in, had two lovely feet and combined marvellously with Elliot, Lu and Cocky twice to put the Nanna’s into a 3-1 lead and in the ascendancy.
With around 4 minutes left of the first half, another tasty passing movement led to Lu being one-on-one with their goalkeeper. As he was in the process of going around him, the keeper grabbed his hips, pulled him to the ground and held him down. Clear penalty. Elliot ran over to remonstrate with the goalkeeper about the foul on his younger brother.
I think we were all aghast and dumbfounded by what followed. The goalkeeper pushed Elliot over and took a swing at him. A second player grabbed Lu by the throat, forcefully. Cocky rushed in to extricate his boys from the melee, quickly followed by Gilla as peace envoy. Quite how three of their players were seething with rage and apparently indignant with the injustice of the situation was utterly incomprehensible.
The young referee then in charge of the game offered little control of the situation. The fella with the chest like the Heidelberg Tun must have heard the commotion as he came over from the other pitch. To restore some calm and order he suggested we abandon the remainder of the first half and persuaded the opposition to play on for the second. Yes, somehow a few of them didn’t want to play on! No penalty was taken. No red card.
Thankfully, the passing and movement from the Nannas scaled new heights in the second half. A controlled left footed volley from Cocky – in off the near post from an insouciant chipped pass from Lu which followed earlier good work from Elliot – was a particular highlight of six second half goals. There were even a couple of cheeky goals from me. I think talk of how good they were had already gotten out of hand by the time we got to the pub. Thankfully some footage has emerged of them (here and here ) so you can judge for yourself.
And so, to the Union where Elliot and Lu were being encouraged to reflect on the pitfalls of violence by not only leur pere and the other Nannas, but also Miri and the sage advice of their Grandparents who had also witnessed it all. A debrief, and an attempt to piece together how any of that had happened, seemed necessary. If anything, it became more baffling as apparently the opponents (approx. 10 years younger than the average first generation Nanna) are apparently fathers to young families! Also, all the stories we swapped of the individual reactions we witnessed confirmed that they largely remained angry and in denial of any wrongdoing throughout the match.
The Nannas schooled the Bad Dads on the pitch but the bigger lesson for all of us was in the triumph of non-violence. Peace, love and the jogo bonito, people.
report by James Mercer
Nannas 9 – Bad Dads 2
JM 2 (MOM), LC 2, EC 1, DC 4, CG (GK), Sebastian the courtside ring-in