Coincidentally

One sidelight of Ricci’s life may have been too insignificant to rate a mention in A Little Life, let alone in Too Many Tears, though it was of a bit more historical importance to the organisation concerned: Strathmore Football Club. Ricci joined Strathmore briefly after becoming too old for the Braybrook team he had earlier played with through school connections. (One of the helpers at Strathmore introduced Ricci to the job opportunity at Melbourne City Council which was mentioned in A Little Life.)

But even at Strathmore, that piece of history had largely faded from conscious awareness until a series of coincidences starting when Heather flew east for the Melbourne launch on the same plane as the Victorian Country Under 18 football team returning from a match in Perth.

Strathmore Football Club's 1978 Under 15 A EDFL Premiership team

While waiting for Heather’s luggage, we caught up with Marty Allison who was on the coaching staff for the returning team but completely forgot the photo of a Strathmore Under 15 premiership team including Ricci and Marty that had recently been added, amongst a pile of other historical Strathmore footy pics, to the collection on the iPod touch in my pocket, and I failed to make use of the brief chance to introduce Heather and Marty.

That premiership was the first coached by John Redfern after a succession of near misses and was celebrated by the production of a very large black and white flat-mounted print, totally out of keeping with the standard colour format of premiership team photos which clutter the walls of Strathmore Sports Club. It had been rephotographed and scanned at a later date so we could use one face in More News.

The Saturday after our authors had left following the Melbourne launch proved an ideal day for a once-most-years visit to the footy club, and who should we soon run into on an even rarer visit but John Redfern? At least this time I remembered the photo in my pocket and was able to share this story up to then.

Michael Deed, John Redfern, Ricci Vicenti (back) and Marty Allison (front left)

The following Friday, I uncharacteristically put the TV on early enough to see the toss of the coin between Essendon and Brisbane. Essendon had chosen to honour their long serving volunteers by chosing one of them, John Deed, to toss the coin. John’s son Michael is in that premiership photo, standing right next to Ricci and immediately behind Marty. (John Redfern’s head appears between Michael’s and Ricci’s.)

The next Saturday we celebrated Andrew Selvaggi’s 21st at a Greek restaurant in Niddrie. (Around a decade earlier, I had entertained Heather on a previous visit and Andrew with a trip to Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens.) Andrew’s great grandfather, the late DIck Leeds, had been the long-serving timekeeper for Essenson Reserves back in the same era as John Deed became involved with the same team, so John already knew Dick’s daughter Judy Selvaggi well before they reconnected as very involved parents at Strathmore, both the Deed and Selvaggi homes hosting more than their share of social gatherings during a period which significantly strengthened Strathmore’s traditions.

And who should turn up with some other friends from Essendon Reserves at another table at the same Greek restaurant than John Deed, who, like John Redfern, Marty Allison and save for that moment on TV, I hadn’t caught up with in years. John Deed too was soon shown that photo.

-TS