A tale of sausages and judgement

“Where is my mouth guard Mum?”

And so it begins again. Footy season is upon us again and all over Sydney, puffer vests are getting a thorough airing as the weekends are now spent sitting on the sidelines telling all who will listen how corrupt the ref is. Hands are warmed with overpriced, takeaway coffees while younger siblings, high on the side affects of giant pythons, chuck impressive tantrums. Small and large dogs do a very good job of sniffing each others anuses, while Dads tear up and down the sidelines, yelling, trying to re-live the years when they played seventh grade for Joeys.

“Oi! Can someone get the ref a pair of glasses?”

We are talking under 13’s here.

We have a home game, and I follow my olfactory instincts over to the BBQ, where the sausages are a sizzling. I look at the crew behind the counter who are clearly over-worked. For we do a fine sausage at Lindfield, a fact that can be measured by the crowd in front of the BBQ.

“Do you need a hand?” I ask. And them immediately regret it.

“Yes.” I am told “Can you please work the cash register.”

The cash register is not a register, but can be seen in that photo up there. I immediately go into meltdown. Damn you helpful instinct! For you see, I might be good at stringing sentences together, and I make a mean martini but when it comes to mental computation, all bets are OFF.

It starts out ok.

“One blue Powerade please.”

I look at the menu, note that that particular beverage is $4.50, progress with the transaction smoothly and greet the next customer.

“How much is a bacon and egg roll?” Again, I refer to the price list and confirm that that particular item is five dollars. Ten dollars, handed over, five is returned before I direct the boy to the BBQ. No tickets or tokens. We work on trust.

And then I spy a small boy, I think about three years old. He looks extremely shifty. He is eying off the box of Zappos near the till. And as I retreat to fetch a punter a can of Solo, I can tell that he is trying to steal. NOT ON MY WATCH. I inform him that despite his adorableness, he is not above the law.

The whistle blows, signalling half time and the crowd grows bigger at the sausage sizzle, but this time, it is serious. A dozen North Shore Dads arrive with their dad bods in the uniform of knee-length shorts, boat shoes, navy polo shirts and caps that have logos on them, letting me know which investment bank they work for. And now it is my time to come undone.

“Yeah I’ll have one bacon and egg roll, one sausage sandwich, two cans of coke and a yellow Powerade thanks…”

My eyes scan the price list while my brain takes leave of my skull.

And then they hand over a fifty dollar bill.

My hands shake as I try not to lose my shit.

I fumble everything. The men all stare at me. They are judging me and I can tell that they are stifling laughter.

“FUCK OFF” I scream at them before storming off. Of course this is what I want to do, but instead, I ask them to add it up and tell me how much change I need to give them.

“I am bad at maths….” I offer up but really I want to scream “I am a published author you know. I run a successful business writing shit on the internet. I have personally met the last three Prime Ministers! I can bake risotto in my oven. My step-dad died last year. My son is making his debut in the A-grade in a few minutes, and I had a very difficult labor with him…..”

And so it goes. The next five minutes is a mixture of fumbling and apologising and giving back the wrong change. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my mini-nemesis makes his move, swiping a handful of Zappos before disappearing into the crowd.

“Stop! Thief!” I yell. But no one cares. So I figure, why should I.

I approach the person who is in charge. “Do you mind if I knock off? My son is about to play…”

I am excused from duty. I chuck $4 into the cash box and grab myself a sausage sanger. Dousing it in sauce, I take a bite and watch as a large dollop of sauce lands on my boobs.

That will do pig. That will do.

Are you back on the sidelines yet?

How are you at mental computation?


  • Donna

    Our sausages are $2.50. Soft drink $1.00. Sauce and onions are free. That’s it for choice, makes addition easier. And yes I spent Sat morn with wet feet as my winter wardrobe choices are lacking…..

  • This is the first year of my som doing a team sport and we have canteen duty in a few weeks. I fear the exact same thing…so i am volunteering my other half who is better at maths than me 🙂

  • ruserious

    After 10 years of organising rugby sausage sizzles, I have met many mums and dads who struggle with adding zappos and gatorades – you are not alone! Next time, if they offer the till, just tell them adding up is not your thing, that it will probs cost them $50 in lost adding and can you have a different job. No one will care, they will just be ever so grateful you offered to help – really.

  • Calculator on your phone? But you know that there was a mean gal thing going on there… NOONE wants to be on the register. Next time your offer needs to be specific. Can I help – I am great with tongs, or I butter a mean bit of bread. Little thieving turd.

  • Shann Curtin

    No shame Mrs Woog. I am an accountant and get very easily flustered at a till under pressure!

  • mrshanksy

    I’m on canteen at netty this week – 2hours before my daughter actually plays!!! I work full-time and my husband is going into hospital on the Monday for a heart operation! No other fecker will do it and you can’t ask the manager, coach or scorer! I am also a nervous wreck cos my daughter is going for her Ps in about an hour and I am sooo nervous for her but nothing I can do ;-(

  • littlelostsoul

    Far out, if they are in investment banks they should be able to work out how much they owe you, maybe that’s why the economy is in such great shape. ? You can’t take any advice from me on this one, I am never allowed near the money since the Mother’s Day stall debacle of 2013!?

  • Jane

    I’m managing the team so I don’t have to do canteen. (Although, fortunately, our home games are at an oval with no canteen available, so just have to organise one night in the season at the clubhouse)

  • OH TITTIE LITER to boot! What a bloody ordeal. I’ve never found the right job at to help out, I often just plop myself in the sink doing dishes – I can’t fuck up to much in there, surely!

  • Hahaha I am SHIT at mental maths too. Funny thing is, I’m sure I’m capable. I just freeze up in the kinds of situations you’re describing! I would not have judged. I would have laughed my arse off (with you not at you) and tried to help add it up! I dread weekend sports. I really do. The pressure is on for my kid to try Auskick by next year and I want to resist in case I accidentally sign myself up for every weekend until my 5 year old’s adulthood. I mean, I support physical exercise and team whatsit stuff in theory, but in practice, that’s a lot of standing in the cold with a bunch of wankers and being asked to be on every committee ever ?

    • Donna

      Auskick only goes for a short period (10 wks-ish). My five year old goes. He has no interest and no skills to speak of but he loves it when there. No canteen or committee. No uniform or equipment needed. Only goes for about an hour. One of the easiest things I’ve done with the kids. Give it a go. If you want to avoid talking to the wankers, and yes they’re everywhere, look for the older mum, or the new to the neighbourhood parent or the immigrant mum etc. They are always nice and happy to talk about normal shit.

      • Good to know! I was commenting more on the possibility that my kid might get addicted and end up playing footy for real down the track haha. I promise I was only kind of joking – he’s so gonna do Auskick next year LOL

        I think I’m scarred for life after being a reluctant WAG to my hubby for years! x

  • I can’t do maths under pressure either. Very clever, funny and descriptive summary of school boy footy Mrs Woog.

  • My daughter and I regularly team up for Bunning’s sausage sizzle volunteer duty. We’ve done it for school, soccer, AFL, and circus school. We are pros. I am always on either onion and sausage cooking or bread distribution and she does the till. She is 12 now but has been doing it since she was 10. I don’t know if that is legal, but she is way better at the adding up and change giving than any of the rest of us. If an older kid or adult tries to take over, she mumbles the correct adding up and change under her breath while standing behind them and they soon hand the job back to her.

  • Had a thousand beers with Mr and Mrs Goodman at the Lindfield Rugby, Jersey and Jeans on Saturday night Woogster. I thought you may have been there. Great night.

    • I would have loved to have come! Totally forgot about it.

  • Oh boy! this is me!!! But in the form of the football TEAM MANAGER trying to do online registrations before the whistle blows (cause the kids can’t play unless registered and the website is offline) and taking membership money with not a single idea of how much they are suppose to be paying…. it was a total balls up to tell you! It may be under 10s (and my kids are 6 & 7) but oh boy you’d think it was major league! 🙂

  • JP

    My husband also did canteen duty on the weekend. His policy was to get every kid who came up to purchase stuff to calculate (a) the cost of said order; and (b) the change they were due. Good for their maths, he claimed.

  • I think I’ll be offered up as a volunteer to help at footy this season, my son is just starting to play. But next week’s Mother’s Day stall is going to be stressful enough! Love your description of the day… #stopthief – (did you catch the culprit?)

  • Sharon

    I am a proud graduate of Vege Maths (Maths in Society) and I am not above using a calculator to perform simple calculations in the canteen. Yes, back on the sideline Saturday AND Sunday. I refuse to wear a puffer vest. Soccer seems to be lacking sausie sangas. Get your act together soccer peeps, I’ll bring the calculator.