Most evenings, sitting in the front room, I end up looking at the floor. And think about LB. And spaces. Wow. He did a number on spaces. Occupying different spaces within our space. Like sleeping on the Billy bookcase as a tot. Or hanging out in the swing bin. Now that sort of space isn’t occupied it’s odd/hard to remember it ever was. Who lies on their side on the living room floor? Across years…
Back in the day, the footy guy nights were a pretty unremarked upon part of family life. Like so much other stuff. Absorbed into our ‘normal’.
There was no guessing when the box of ‘footy guys’, goal and makeshift ball would appear. In a seamless and low key celebratory joining in of a mainstream footy event. In his own way. How the hell did he fit in that tiny space?
He sort of studiously ignored the match on TV. Applying sometimes silent, focused concentration on his match. Remarkable really as footy fell outside his typical interests. At the same time, he was fully engaged in the moment. Some of the real time match entered his commentary but his match had its own dynamic. And own moments. LB was no slave to premier antics.
I loved these footy guy nights. I loved his absorption in the match, played out with a ball made of scrunched up paper and Sellotape (made after the original tiny ball went missing). I also loved (without realising it at the time), how everyone fitted around him. Picking across the guys to sit down. Respecting his engagement.
LB kept his footy guys in a Spongebob box. The goal and ball were stored in an old CCTV camera box. Which doubled as the second goal. Everything carefully packed and stored in his room until the next time.
I photographed this one evening. I don’t know why. Or why that night. January 29 2011. He was 16. Capturing a school boy. Absorbed in doing something he loved.
As he should be.