Left: Best Image for ZineWest 2013 awarded by the late Katherine Knight to Paul for an image of the youthful strength of Western Sydney and a promise of our future. Right: Paul Azize
DID YOU GET A TICKET?
‘Did you get a ticket?’ asked John excitedly.
‘Yeah, what about you?’ answered Paul.
‘Yep. Oi, did you get one too?’ John responded as Hugh joined.
‘Of course, everyone in the school got a free ticket,’ replied Hugh with a certain disdain for the obvious.
Paul saw Tony running over and knew what was coming.
‘Watch out!’ he says, warning the others. ‘It’s the Zip Zip Man, in for try no 3, a hat trick for this legend as my mighty Parramatta Eels smash your pathetic Dragons.’
‘Settle down will you, we were grand finalists last year.’
‘Dream on. Grand finalists, but you didn’t win, so who cares!’
‘I do obviously you…’
‘Cut it out idiots,’ interjects John, playing the role of peacemaker before Paul can let off a foul mouth rant that never ends well for anybody.
Anthony was promoting the event as if it was his own. ‘I’m pumped about this new stadium, they reckon it holds 50,000 people and has TVs in the headrest in front.’
‘Actually, only 30,000 but good on you for having a go.’ Again, Hugh couldn’t hide his sarcasm.
‘Oh, what about the TV sets?’ Anthony asked, clinging to his last fact in hope of getting some praise.
‘No, no TVs,’ continued Hugh.
‘What time do you want to meet up? Kick off is 3pm, so let’s meet at Hugh’s place at 2pm.’ Paul didn’t like standing around doing nothing.
‘2pm is too late, let’s make it 1pm,’ protested John. ‘I want to get Maccas.’
‘An hour to eat Maccas?’
Hugh knew the reason and gave it. ‘He wants to get there early because the chick he likes from Saturday Greek school is working.’
‘Where’s Greek School?’ Anthony asked, thinking that was more important than the obvious question about girls.
‘Arthur Philip High,’ John replied.
‘Are you going to ask her out or just keep staring at her?’ Hugh queried with the expertise of a kid who had done it several times before, which made him a demigod in their eyes.
‘Just keep staring.’
Everyone doubled over in laughter.
After making the necessary stop at McDonald’s and ordering their meals as slowly as possible so John could make the most of the moment, the boys walked the one block to the stadium. They took the first entrance they found, arriving at the northern end of the ground. With an hour to kick off it was standing room only and it became more crowded and uncomfortable as 3pm approached. Officially there was a crowd of 26,870, unofficially it was over 30,000.
By 4:15pm, with over half an hour of game time left it got even more uncomfortable for Paul. His team was getting a hiding. The ribbing he copped from Hugh and John was not comparable to what he’d get tomorrow at school from Anthony and everyone else who suddenly became a Parramatta supporter. Even though the Zip Zip Man wasn’t playing, Parramatta still won 36-6.
Paul Azize: ‘Born, raised and continuing to live in Rydalmere, I can’t imagine living anywhere else in Sydney. Parramatta is my home. A beachfront mansion will never replace my love for Parramatta and Western Sydney.’