Thursday, September 07, 2006

Trophy afterlife

I have just taken apart my old trophies. Most went pretty well, except for one with two nails where you usually find one bolt. I twisted the pieces apart. That one probably won't ever go on display again. They are pretty simple and unglamorous things when you break them down to their constituent parts. Green plastic flashy sparkle stuck onto wood. Gold plastic man with a screw protruding from his feet. They came apart so easily in my hands. I never imagined I would do this to them.

When I was little I burned up with a great desire for trophies. Mum has some beautiful swimming cups from her youth - proper engraved silver cups, with a foot and handles. When I discovered there were such things as trophy shops I dreamed about going in and buying myself a big one. I guess I dreamed about winning one legitimately somehow, but those dreams haven't stayed with me.

Jacki, my older sister, racked up an awesome number of trophies dancing. After a while I think even she was a tiny bit embarrassed to come home from every dance graduation with another clunking shoulderbag full of silver pirouetting ladies.

I finally jagged a trophy, Keenest Learner in the Burnie Municipal Band, 1981-82. I wasn't going to go to the award night but someone hinted strongly to Mum that I should. The trophy is metallic blue and features a screenprint of a monkey, holding its tail, carrying a basket of fruit on its back on which perch two herons, a lion and perhaps the sun, with a worried looking face. An allegory of keenness, I imagined at the time.

After a while I started to win some soccer trophies. I had a twenty-five year soccer career of limited success and in that time collected I think seven trophies and a few medallions on blue nylon ribbons. The ones I won as a kid were just stunningly beautiful at the time, and I loved to look at them. The occasions I received them were high points in my fairly uneventful teenage years in Burnie.

For a long time they lived in the shed here, jumbled in a basket. I still thought they were pretty great, but like most pre-kid stuff, they were sidelined to concentrate on baby things and few totally unbreakable reminders of adult life.

Six years later we are preparing to demolish this beautiful old house. The shed has been gone about a year, it was the first victim of progress. Shed stuff was shoved under the house or on top of wardrobes. The trophies caught Marcus' eye and he was determined to take them to show and tell. Two went to kinder yesterday and two went to daycare today. Now that they have come to my attention again, I have had to weigh up whether to store them when we move or chuck them.

I chose to pull them apart and store them. That way no protruding angel wings will be snapped off, and one day perhaps I can re-assemble them. Or maybe I will cut myself free from the past, take them to the tip and just swing the bag around my head and fling it. As someone said, deciding not to decide is still deciding.

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