It was a grey evening, sky blanketed by dull, darkening cloud, when I took the dog for a walk. I felt a mix of pleasure at having finished work for the day, only dinner and a movie on the couch ahead, and melancholy perhaps brought on by the sky and a sense that my life was passing, the big things still unachieved, perhaps never to be achieved. As the dog darted and nosed around me, a man’s voice on a loud speaker broke into my thoughts. “In third place, on 455 points…”
It came from the athletics ground on the other side of the Merri Creek, and must have carried for miles in all directions. I looked across the ravine at the lights yellowing the red track and a large scatter of people gathered on the concrete terrace by the change rooms. “In second place, on 502 points, Medici!”
A big cheer went up. “And the winner is…” He pauses. “Now, where are my spectacles? Maybe I’ll tell you on Monday.”
The voice had a bored, even slightly camp drone. The man had been a teacher for a long time. But he was enjoying his little jokes, his moment with the mike. “And the winner, on 594 points – Polding!”
Another cheer went up, smaller, I thought, than the one for Medici. The man called two girls, one named Zoe, to the microphone, but Zoe’s words were quieter and lost on the wind. “Now can Polding gather on the track for your group photo with your trophy,” said the announcer, back in charge. “Everyone else — go home.”
Curious, moved by the sound of cheering children’s voices, I crossed the bridge and walked past the track. Parents and children in sun smart hats were surging out the gate, making way for my dog as we all squeezed onto the pavement between the wire fence and busy road.