As the Madness DescendsSomewhere this month, on a beach in a small coastal town, a young family will settle in for an early morning sandcastle session. Beside them they may spot an indeterminate, sandy lump. They may even think it is the remnants of another family’s sandcastle adventures from the previous day, but they’d be wrong.
Just as little Benny is laying down his seashell façade upon the eaves of his sandy masterpiece, a monster will burst forth from the ground beside him. Screaming nonsense and reeking of booze, it will stamp mindlessly over his creation, seeking reparation from its fourth-grade teammates for the cruel joke they have played, unaware of the damage it has just unleashed upon a tiny, sandy kingdom.
Welcome to the end-of-season- footy-trip-season, little Benny. Your life may never be the same again.
With the football season over, small towns all over the country are experiencing the hell that is end of year footy trips. An influx of sub-district sports teams invading their quiet havens to consume far too much alcohol and behave like untethered 19 year-olds full of rum, sugar and sexual frustration.
Some of these people actually are 19, so their actions are vaguely understandable, if still not quite acceptable. It is the older men one must wonder about. Dangerous beasts, all of them. Club stalwarts who married young, had kids by their mid-twenties and still play team sports so they can hang out with people years their junior, late into their thirties. Never trust a man near forty who is willing to drink for 48 hours with 19 year- olds, especially if that man has children.
These footy trips are like buck’s parties, in that there is always going to be a few of these fellows who drag the rest of the group, who are all more or less respectable, into the dark pits of hell – the kind of place that leaves you with the Monday morning horrors for merely being associated with it; a cold terror that they might have committed hideous crimes after you went to bed and there is video footage of you dancing shirtless on a wheelie bin with them, in front of pensioners having an early dinner.
Is there any value in these trips? I’ve never been sure. Usually by the end of the season you’ve already spent too much time with these blokes and the last thing you want to do is travel anywhere with them. The idea of a simple Mad Monday has always appealed more to me. One and done. A lock in somewhere, where you can’t cause too much damage to anything but yourself.
Whatever your position on these sordid affairs, if you do get caught up in one, steer clear of the rugged, balding guy with a sinister glint in his eye. This is his annual apocalypse and he won’t be con- tent until all four horsemen have drunkenly fallen off their steeds.