Between the big sticks!

Dear Rose,

As you know, I volunteered to pick up the flea-bitten, grubby white flags on Sunday and take my chances as goal umpire for your latest game of girl’s footy. I asked about protective head-gear but the club officials thought I was joking! The club manager, however, did say I looked glam in the over-sized white coat so I figure I can start a new trend – goal chic!


Chelsea Roffey waving the flags!


I was in good company, I have discovered. Not sure if you’ve heard of Chelsea Roffey but she became the first female to officiate an AFL Grand Final when she was selected as goal umpire for the 2012 Grand Final.

Anyway, being a one-sided match made my job a lot easier. No one was going to have a go at me for a faulty call, I figured, unless it was a close game. I did discover waving the flags was not so great for my dodgy shoulder.

Early on I chased the ball after it went out of bounds – even entertaining some players by pulling the ball out of a tree. But after one of the proper refs told the girls to retrieve the ball when it went out of bounds, my job became a lot easier. Let me tell you, chasing the ball, attempting to kick it back, belatedly waving the flags and then scribbling the score on my card before the ball came whizzing back down the ground was not easy!

I resisted the urge to say something rude to the little kid who kept asking me what the score was every five seconds. He was asking when the action was up my end so it was kind of extra annoying.

But being a one-sided game meant that every second quarter I didn’t have much to do. I practiced some of my yoga exercises – knee cap lift and lower and pelvic listing (don’t ask!)

And I listened with horror to the bad-mouthed mother half-way up the field. Seriously, what is wrong with some people? In my mind’s eye, she looked something like this:


I hope you count yourself lucky!

Love you, Mum xo


About Heather Gallagher

Heather lives in Ocean Grove with her beautiful family and a dog called Pip. She has a passion for quirky stories. Her first book, Ferret on the Loose, was published in 2013 and was recently listed on the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge. The book was inspired by a girl and her ferret, who Heather interviewed while working as a freelance journalist for The Sunday Age. Her column, Yak Attack, ran in the Kids View section for more than a year and allowed Heather to profile people she thought would be of interest to kids. In 2014, she released her first picture book Happy Pants – Why is mummy so sad? This is NOT a story about ferret racing. Rather, it is a heartfelt story about a boy grappling with his Mum’s post-natal depression. Heather’s stories for children have appeared in black dog books Short & Scary anthology and Explore and Challenge magazines. Heather has experience in public speaking – both for children and adults. While, promoting Happy Pants she spoke to groups of counsellors, nurses, parents and at library events. She has presented writing workshops to primary-aged children. Last year, she was a presenter at the Sacred Edge festival and the Christian Writers’ Conference.
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