Losing Your Footing - The State of Como
By Pete Lemon - Club Historian and Photographer
Last year I sent the City of Stonnington an email mid-season congratulating them on the state of the ground at Como and stating it was in the best condition I had ever seen it in my then 50 seasons with the Old Geelong Football Club (and about 45 with the South Yarra Cricket Club).
And it only got better – who could forget it the day the U19s played their Second Semi there against Williamstown? Magnifique.
Sadly, it is an email which is unlikely to be repeated this year, although thankfully the ground is now fairly well on the improve.
For it seems that over summer things went progressively pear-shaped: some sort of malevolent weed allegedly dropped in from South America, and the irrigation system apparently stopped functioning for at least a fortnight during the hottest and driest part of the summer. Large areas of the ground had to be re-sown as soon as soon as cricket finished mid-March, and with a couple of weeks to go before the start of the football season it looked truly appalling. The likelihood of our being able to use Como for the start of the season appeared low. However, it did improve considerably over Easter, although general maintenance remained a problem, with potholes to be found all over the ground.
Moment of Terror #1
You betcha. How to lose a foot, even at the rate I move these days. Somebody with the blistering pace of Hugh McKay could have lost a leg.
The photo above (by Nick Bourke and admittedly representing my best profile) was taken on the Thursday evening after we got back onto Como just before Round 1. Another 15 such pictures could equally been taken at other locations around the ground that evening. And on the Saturday morning prior to the Club 18’s first game there (our other sides thankfully were playing away) Will Reed and C18 coach Lewi Chiodo had to spend time shovelling significant amounts of soil from outside the ground into a large number of not-dissimilar holes, and covering broken tap-covers.
I contrast that with two more photos of my left leg and/or foot (again, best profiles) appearing on the next page and taken in the backblocks of Botswana, a few years ago:
Moment of Terror #2
No way, absolutely no concern here; he was just curious, and, anyway, lions don’t eat fruit. (However, it is suggested that you do not try this trick at home.)
It is pleasing to report that considerable work has since been done on the Como ground since the start of the season; all the holes have been filled in properly and the grass does seem to be getting better steadily.
And - further good news: we also understand that the training light bulbs at Como are about to be replaced by something rather better “by the end of April”, and that a second one will be put on the pole which has only had one on it for many years.
And the reason why there was only one light: there were actually two put up on that pole originally many years ago – but a woman living up on the hill complained that one of the lights was shining right into her bedroom window. So the offending light was taken down. We rather think and hope that some of the trees have grown taller in the intervening years.