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'Thirteen! Thirteen!'

It was Jack's birthday yesterday, and this video from Fox Footy commentator Anthony Hudson is his favourite present.
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I was sitting on the couch in the predawn yesterday, waiting for Jack to wake up for his first day as a teenager. ‘Thirteen’ I was thinking to myself, and because I’m imprisoned by both word association and sporting history, my inner voice quickly doubled that to, ‘Thirteen! Thirteen!’

For those who aren’t footy literate, ‘Thirteen, thirteen!’ is perhaps the most famous snippet of commentary this century. [is it, actually? Maybe tied with Stephen Quartermaine’s ‘Leo Barry you star!’? Let me know in the comments]. It was delivered by Anthony Hudson beneath flaming skies at Launceston in 2012, as Buddy Franklin made it a baker’s dozen, less than a minute after he’d kicked an impossible twelfth and with one second left in the game:

Anthony Hudson is my favourite commentator, and he’s Jack’s equal favourite, alongside the man he calls ‘Dwayno’. A few years ago, I told Jack that I had Dwayne Russell’s phone number in my phone, because as an ex Cat I’d interviewed him for my ‘1989: The Great Grand Final’ book. (he didn’t play that day, but he had the locker next to Gary Ablett that season) Since knowing I have Dwayno’s number, Jack has more than once suggested that we should ‘give Dwayno a ring.’ ‘Go on Dad! Ring Dwayno! Ring him and ask him which game he’s doing this week! That’d be crazy good!’

I explain that it might not be crazy good, because Dwayno and I haven’t met in person, and our only conversation was six years ago when he was driving back from 3AW to Geelong.

‘It’s not appropriate Jack.’

‘It is.’

‘It really isn’t’.

‘I say it is.’

‘It isn’t though.’

Buy a signed 1989 book

Yesterday morning, without Jack there to hector me, I had the idea for a text.

Jack woke up and greeted me with an excited ‘good morning, thirteen!’ There’s a tradition in Tamsin’s family that you bid goodnight to the old age the night before, and even make phone calls from all corners of the globe to fulfill this obligation, and then call back twelve hours later with a ‘good morning [new birthday age]. ‘I said my own “good morning, thirteen’, Jack grinned. I offered up a ‘good morning thirteen’ and set him up listening to Geraldine Hickey comedy routines on his iPad.

I didn’t hear directly from Dwayne, but he must have flicked my message on to Anthony Hudson, because just after twelve, a video pinged in from an unknown number.

I don’t know whether Anthony Hudson is on cameo, or just whether hundreds of fathers and mothers of twelve year olds around the country have badgered him into ‘thirteen! thirteen!’ birthday videos, but he delivered with such practiced timing and tone. I guess his job is ad lib fluency. What a pro!

Jack wishes his job was footy commentary. The fact he has limited vision, and at games mainly absorbs noise and stares at his lap and listens to his grandpa or me describe the action, makes me think the big time is beyond him. But from an early age, he’s worshipped commentators, and particularly Hudson. Here is a ‘Nick Davis, Nick Davis!’ delivered by Jack, on the floor at Byron Bay, aged five:

The original is always worth a rewatch:

Thanks Dwayne and Huddo. We talked about the video all day — a great day that included his sister’s junior soccer, a family lunch with pizza and cake, a Melbourne Victory game with other sister and grandpa, and a pre-dinner visit to friend Frankie’s house to eat Cheetos and watch the Huddo call of the Collingwood v West Coast mini match.

Happy birthday Jack. Thirteen! Thirteen!

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A shortage of candles meant Jack had one a place value lesson with one candle for the tens column and three candles for the ones.

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