written by Rev Gary Heard

My darling wife cannot understand my passion for collecting Football Records. These unique publications are sold at football games, and contain all manner of information related to Australian Rules Football. My own collection records some of the great days and names of the Richmond Football Club, dating back into the 1960s. Though lacking success in recent years, they are a reminder of a shared journey with our eldest son, and the games we have attended. Each Record carries particular memories of games and moments. My wife thinks they are junk taking up space.

In some respects I think she has a point. We are living in larger and larger homes, with smaller and smaller households. The manse here was built in about 1915 and would have been a large house in its era. Yet it was built without any bedroom cupboards. Such a thought seems anachronistic in our day. The new McMansions, well over twice the size of a place like this, have large cupboards in every bedroom, and others besides. With the average family size less than half what it was a century ago, new houses provide ample space for storing memorabilia such as my precious Football Record collection. In our tighter space, I have to fend for its life on the more-than-odd occasion.

Perhaps I should take the option which many of my fellow Melbournians have adopted: rent some storage space. Yes, in spite of our larger houses and more generous availability of storage space (for fewer people), our homes are overflowing. It would make an interesting exercise to inventory these units, and see what it is that people cannot bring themselves to discard, yet do not care enough to have in their house. It may reflect some bastardisation of the commitment to recycling, or a belief that ‘we’d better hang on to this. Some day it will be worth something’. Yet again, maybe it is precious memories that people can’t get rid of: a child first soiled nappy, perhaps? Our now 24-year-old’s cracked infant drinking cup? One can understand hanging on to such important artifacts! Clearly nothing as important as my Football Record Collection.

It would be churlish of me to report that some things that my wife regards with similar conviction and affection are mere junk in comparison. After all, the cracked ceramic swan (she calls it coalport or something) given to her by her grandmother does not stand well in comparison with the Football Record from the day Richmond beat Hawthorn on a countback after the siren at the ‘G’. I still recall comments that Royce Hart was not playing with the urgency befitting a tied game. Perhaps he knew the real score – what a champion!

We do store up some strange things. Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-20)

I am working hard on this… but I still can’t get rid of those Football Records.

August 1, 2004
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