Chronicling the Game
Chronicling the Game
A film by Malcolm McKinnon
Football Stories from Country Victoria, An initiative of the Victorian Country Football League and the State Library of Victoria, 2007
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Malcolm McKinnon and State Library of Victoria, 2006.
Robin Letts of the Buloke Times in Donald started reporting local football for the newspaper in 1947. Sixty years on he still enjoyes reporting the sport and recognises its importance for local communities.
Thank you to Robin Letts and Shane O'Shea.
ROBIN LETTS: I came out of the Navy towards the end of 1947 and came straight back into the office. And one of the first things I had to do was to start reporting local football. So I think I'd written my first footy report in 1947, so I-- I had to count back, but I think that might be 60 years come next year.
It never becomes boring because my wife and I go to a different game every week. Shirley gets out of the car in the freezing cold to take action shots of footballers, and I sit in the warmth, taking notes. And up to date, she hasn't complained too much. So we'll see what happens.
What we try to do is to cover it based on word and pictures and not to leave anybody out, if we can possibly help it. All the details, right down to the best players in the under-13 netballs and whatever.
SHANE O'SHEA: Robin needed a bit of a hand, so he said, do you want to cover a game? I started off in the reserves, and it wasn't long before he had me in the seniors. It's the closest I've ever got to senior football, I must admit. But it's sort of grown from there. I'm at a game each Saturday, taking photos and just doing a report on that game.
We're recording the history of the leagues and associations as it happens. And it's vital that we keep presenting that and recording that and covering their achievements and promoting the sports as long as we can.
ROBIN LETTS: We've found that, particularly at times like this, when we've had practically a 10-year drought and things have been so tough, that football and its allied sports are so important that they would be the only activity in our lives that, particularly at finals times, has the ability to virtually lift up the population of one town and shift it to another, and then bring it home again. And there's nothing else in our lives quite like that.
And it's the conversation, going up the street every week. It's the thing until next Saturday, and then you start again.
If I were to retire, I know what would happen. Shirley would have me straight into the garden. And that would be a fate worse than death.