It's so cold your breath is coming in visible coffee-scented clouds like a hipster's vape.
It's raining but not quite enough for them to call it off, damn it. It's another winter Saturday and time to drag your kid from the bed you had to drag them into seven hours ago and chuck them on to a sports field. Honestly, you're the real MVP [most valuable player]. Here are five people you meet at winter sports games.
The Genuine Concern
He's worried about everyone, particularly the ref. "What's wrong with ya?" he cries anxiously. "Still asleep, mate?" he frets at people who are not only awake but running around a frosty paddock. Perhaps he's confused by the stripy tops, which look a bit like pyjamas. He is so deeply concerned for everyone's wellbeing that it makes everyone else nervous too. "Whaddareya?" he yells caringly, to which, of course, there is no answer.
Mama Bear Grylls
Setting out her folding stool, she unscrews the lid of her cheetah-print double-walled stainless steel bottle and a cloud of steam curls out, fogging the lenses of her sleek little Kathmandu binoculars. She has a Blunt umbrella by her side and a shivery little dog cowering in the folds of her minky knee-rug. The people behind can't see past her pop-up shelter but no one says anything because they're curious as to what else she might have in her bag. Solar-powered kettle? Swiss Army baguette knife? She's ready to watch some netball or defeat ISIS, whichever is necessary.
The Virtual Reality
He's so engrossed in the action that he's no longer aware of the fact that he's not playing. Jerking spasmodically in time to the kicks and tackles, he prowls the sideline, eyes locked on the game. He follows the action up and down the field as though attached by an invisible wire, one that seems to be connected to an invisible electric fence. He's never sure why he's so sweaty after a match — but he's looking pretty fit for his age.
The Highlights Package
A chilly red thumb scrolls endlessly. "Why don't more people post on a Saturday morning?" she grumbles, hitting share on a Minions meme. A noise yanks her head up and she yells "Go Jaden!" at someone who may or not be related to her, they all look the same in those tops. But it was the half-time whistle and she shoves her phone in her pocket. False alarm, they're heading down the field for the oranges, so she pulls it back out. One like on the Minion meme. Pathetic.
Research shows that the bit of winter sports kids hate most is the post-match breakdown in the car on the way home. He's read that article but he knows that his analysis is different and will definitely result in vast improvement. Solely due to his advice, his kid will be the next Richie, or Lydia, or Valerie — someone, anyway, who can support his retirement with Weet-Bix endorsements. So he watches carefully, taking mental notes. They must be mental notes, as they're going to drive his kid mental all the way home.