Please forgive me for doing this a few days before the grand final, but I quit.
I was going to tell you at halftime of the preliminary final but, seeing as your face was so red and your blood pressure was obviously soooooooooooooo high, it did not seem like the right time.
(Um, is now a good time to suggest that you see a doctor about that?)
You have been like a father to me, coach.
Well, okay, not a father. You’ve been more like a bad-tempered old has-been but one who filled my head with wisdom I am sure I can use not only in football but throughout my life
The truth is I no longer feel I can give 110 per cent to the team effort. As you have bellowed to us repeatedly — until the hair sticks up on the backs of our necks and the veins stick up on the front of your neck — it is no use strapping on your boots if you don’t come to play.
Footy is a man’s game, a game of two halves, with an all-important third quarter and if the best team is going to win on the day, you don’t need passengers.
I hate to admit it, coach, but I have become a passenger. An airline passenger!
I could not bear to tell you this in person so I am sending this email from an Internet cafe in Hawaii.
I really hope it is not wet and cold there for the grand final.
The weather bureau says it is going to be 79 degrees Fahrenheit here, with big waves at Maui, so I will be thinking of the blokes thrashing, crashing and splashing through the mud.
As I sip my ice-cold Budweiser and chew on my macadamia nuts by the hotel pool, I will also be thinking of them as they hurriedly slurp on the communal bottle delivered onfield by Errol the water-boy or suck on a piece of orange at half-time in the dim, dank sheds while they wonder if you are about to have a heart attack.
Did you know, coach, that the players have worked out a CPR contingency roster?
It would have been my turn this week to give you mouth to mouth resuscitation and thump your chest should you collapse during one of your motivational speeches.
That responsibility was weighing heavily on my mind approaching the big game.
I really hope a team-mate steps into my place. I would hate you to die on account of me. I would never forgive myself. Not until I made a fresh start in a new season, anyway, and put it at the back of my mind.
I will never forget the words of Vince Lombardy you wrote on the team blackboard, coach.
“Winning is not everything; it’s the ONLY thing.”
I am truly fired up. Thanks to you, I am determined to be No. 1.
That is why I absconded with the team’s end-of-season trip kitty. I had to pay for the trip somehow and figured it was better for one player to have a five-star overseas holiday than 30 players rough it on a weekend bus trip to Rutherford.
I wish you and the boys all the best for the grand final.
I hope you are not too badly thrashed.
Your ex-captain, Bomber.