Day 335: The Farmyard Champion

The Farmyard Champion
Matt Zurbo


Logan had a problem.
(Kid hands in pockets, kicking rock along dusty road.)

“I want to be a country football legend like Dad!” he said.
(Kid, possum wrapped around shoulders, looking at Dad’s trophy in the farm shed, on clustered tool shelf.)

But Logan also loved his farm animals, so couldn’t go to the footy club all the time.
The pigs were the best!
So were the cattle dogs!
The frogs were the best, too!
(Dad, footy bag over his shoulder, heading towards ute. Kid watching, surrounded by a few pigs, cattle dogs, possum on shoulders and a handful of frogs. Hands holding buckets full of feed.)

At first, Logan tried to combine his practice with farming.
(Cows at paddock gate. Kid kicking footy into straggling cow’s bum. Footy bouncing off.)

(Ball bouncing off head of fox, that was about to attack ducklings.)

There were setbacks…
(Ball bouncing, scattering startled chooks. One being knocked backwards.)

(Five kookaburras on tree limb, laughing hard. One of them falling off as ball smashes into it.)

(Ball bouncing off Dad’s head as he is on the slasher. Dad wincing.)

(Kid holding nose, wincing, looking down on ball, which has landed in cow poo.)

But that wasn’t going to stop Logan!
(Kid, determined, carrying armful of chooks, calf, joey, white cockies, cattle dog, possum now on his head, while riding a wombat.)

“What are you doing…?” Dad asked.
“I’m going to have a game of farm footy!” Logan told him.
(Dad, in farm gear, and footy shorts, watching Kid, surrounded by several farm and bush animals, making goal posts out of rakes, shovels and plumbing. Wombat and possum helping.)

The local kids laughed. “A farm animal footy team? It will NEVER work!”
(Kid kicking to wombat, ball bouncing off it, scattering crows. Other kids laughing, pointing, Dad in distant background, working.)

“What does that have to do with anything?” Logan grumbled. He was determined!
(Dad, looking up from work, watching Kid trying to pull cow to a spot, but being dragged backwards by it, while other kids laugh.)

“You…” Logan pointed to the lama. “You’re a ruckman!”
“You!” he roared to the wombat. “…Back pocket!”
“You…” to the emu, “a winger!”
(Various animals standing in close, some with makeshift footy jumpers, or shorts, all looking blankly, while kid, angry, possum on head, sitting backwards on wombat, shouts and points at them.)
“Pig, full forward! Water buffalo? Fullback!”

It took weeks to get every animal into their right spots.
(Kid shouting at water buffalo that is sitting on goanna’s tail.)

And weeks more to get them to stay.
(Snake rearing, kid, wrapping himself around branch in tree above it. Wombat and possum and kangaroo running away. Bats everywhere in tree.)

The half forward flanker protested about the leather ball, so Logan swapped it.
(Kid on wombat, possum on head, is standing in front of annoyed cow, hiding football behind back, while holding up a cauliflower.)

Finally, everybody was in their positions. “I’ll be able to play footy day and night, every day and night,” Logan thought. “I’ll be the BEST!”
(Kid on yellow playing vest with black slash, standing next to kangaroo in purple jumper with yellow collar.)

“Let the game begin…”
(Wombat throwing cauliflower up.)

(Which scared the emu…)

(Who bolted into the bull, that charged the cattle dogs…)

(Who caused the ducks to poo on the cat, that tried to eat the piglets, that spooked the koalas, as the goannas chased the lyrebirds…)

(That spooked the goat, who agitated the bees, that cause the bush rat to trip the gate…)

(Goat head-butting beehive. Every animal, plus Kid, ducking and swatting as bees fill the air. Rat, chased by bees, knocking latch of gate up.)

(Stampede of sheep, kid being knocked into air above them, as is cauliflower and wombat.)

“Gah! Disaster!” said Logan.
“You are going to be such a champion,” Dad said.
(Kid, sprawled on ground, cauliflower next to him, being eaten by possum. Dad standing next to him.)

“A football champion…” Logan replied, dreamily, determined to get his players back.
(Kid pulling on/being dragged away by, leaving cow’s tale.)

“Who knows?” Dad said. “Just a champion.”
(Dad smiling, watching where kid went.)


The End


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