Learner Dad’s match fixing

I looked at the calendar on the wall.
Saturday February 16, ‘Learner Dad busy’, it read.
Underneath were the words ‘West Coast play’.
‘Poor bugger,’ I thought. ‘He’ll hate having something on the same night his Eagles kick off their season.’
“What you got on Saturday the 16th?” I asked, walking back into the kitchen.
“West Coast are back. Night game,” he answered quickly.
I paused.
“So you’re busy because…”
“Because they’re back. Night game,” he said again.
“So you’ve made yourself unavailable that night?” I asked.
“Yes, why? Have you got something on?”
“No.”
“Good.”
“So you’re going to write yourself up as ‘unavailable’ for at least one Friday or Saturday night every week from now on then?” I pursued.
“Well, no. They play afternoons sometimes too,” he said, standing his ground.
I was confused.
He hadn’t done this on last year’s calendar.
Now honestly, I’m a fairly good girlfriend.
He watches footy at home. He watches it at his dad’s. Sometimes he even watches it at the MCG.
I know how things work.
The more free time I give him, the more he gives me in return.
We scratch each other’s backs and it works.
“But what if we had something on that night?” I asked.
“Like what?” he said. “Do we have something on?”
“No, but what if we did? Now I feel like I couldn’t possibly ask you. You’ve made this your priority above all else.”
“Well, it kind of is,” he said warily.
“But what if we had something to go to that was important to me? Have you really made yourself completely unavailable?”
“It depends. How important?”
“Important’s important. Do we really need to establish a scale?”
He looked confused.
I felt confused.
This was the guy who’d always seemed ready to drop everything at the slightest hint I might need anything, no matter how trivial.
A few days later, struggling to find a babysitter for a Valentine’s Day dinner, I suggested we go out the following night instead.
“Can’t. Collingwood’s playing. You’ll want to watch them,” he said, referring to the team I supported.
“Nah, it’s ok,” I replied honestly. “I don’t care about NAB Cup.”
“I do,” he said, staring me down.
So a pre-season game that didn’t involve his team came before a rare romantic night out?
Ok, now I definitely felt misled.
Learner Dad had hidden this from me.
He hadn’t warned me prior to our getting engaged that footy came first, above all else.
But then, this was also the guy who’d assured me he loved doing two hour foot rubs while watching America’s Next Top Model, only to admit a year after living together that actually, he didn’t.
That’s ok.
Engaged isn’t married.
I still have time.
I’ll just test him once more.
I’ll schedule something with some level of importance for next month, say Saturday March the 23rd at 4.40pm.
So Learner Dad, honey, are you available?

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Gotta have faith

It’s always one of the first questions raised after having a baby.
Sometimes it comes up before you even give birth.
Sometimes before you’re even pregnant.
Of course, it’s more important to some families.
It was and is extremely important to both mine and Learner Dad’s.
It’s a question of faith, of religion if you will, of setting your child on a certain path for the rest of his or her life.
Often it’ll create divide among relatives.
It’ll even cause some children to break ranks when they discover they can make their own decisions.
I am of course talking about christening…
…christening your baby into the faith that is Aussie Rules football.
Initially having only me as a parent, Master Seven was mine for the taking.
The latest in a long line of Collingwood supporters, he was wearing black and white jumpsuits and literally spitting black and white dummies from the word ‘waaahhhhhh’.
For Li’l Fatty it ain’t so simple.
Learner Dad is a passionate Eagles fan.
But he flies solo, having broken ranks from his own father’s Bombers at the tender age of eight.
He’s determined karma won’t bite him and that Li’l Fatty WILL follow in his father’s footsteps.
But he faces strong opposition.
For every Eagles jumpsuit, there’s a Magpie beanie.
For every West Coast teddy, there’s a Collingwood toy.
And the rivalry doesn’t just come in black and white.
Learner Dad’s own dad, determined to recruit his grandson in his son’s place, has taken out an Essendon membership in Li’l Fatty’s name.
So although poor Li’l Fatty is being flown between the Magpie and Eagle nests, his first football club membership actually has him a Baby Bomber!
But while Poppy Cos has been dismissed as a small time rival, receiving only an icy glare for his trouble, Learner Dad clearly considers me a greater threat.
I get the innocent eyes, the pleas to ‘just give me this’, consistently reminded I’ve already recruited one of my sons to the Magpie Army.
But, with Li’l Fatty’s own wide and innocent eyes already following his big brother around, there’s a strong chance he’ll toddle down that beaten path.
And what a well worn path it is.
Yesterday Master Seven said to me: “So, we have to go for the Swans tomorrow don’t we Mum? Because we HATE Hawthorn.”
I looked at him and said: “You can go for whoever you like honey. You know that, don’t you?”
To which he replied: “Wellllllllll, Harry goes for the Hawks.”
(Harry is his best friend).
So he’s supporting his best friend’s Hawks tomorrow.
And he reckons he has the winning formula.
He says that, to win, the Hawks simply need Lance Franklin to play as well as his brother – Buddy.