Taking the family right back to its Origins

Grinners: Kalyn Ponga of the Maroons (centre) celebrates with Corey Oates following Game 1 of the 2019 State of Origin series. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.
Grinners: Kalyn Ponga of the Maroons (centre) celebrates with Corey Oates following Game 1 of the 2019 State of Origin series. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.

We're not a family that does a lot together.

I look sadly at those car ads where grinning mothers and fathers jump joyfully from their vehicles and rush to enjoy the great outdoors with children sporting even bigger smiles on their dials.

They're paid actors, I tell myself. Paid actors.

Our child is 13. Smiling is not high on her list of priorities.

After a day at work, it's not always high on mine either.

But there are a few nights of the year where things change. Those are the nights of State of Origin.

The child and I do not watch footy for the rest of the year, but there we are on Origin night, together with the child's father, sporting maroon and ready to shout our wisdom at the idiot box.

Last week, my husband decided to put his money on the Blues. This was not a popular choice. We have all been Queensland supporters for as long as we can remember, despite living in NSW for the past 10 years.

"Traitor," his daughter shouted. "How could you?"

"Queensland can win the next two," he shouted back. "But I could win $1000."

We did not care for his $1000. We were glued to the screen, sharing a rare night in the same room in front of the same fire, watching the same thing. No iphones in sight.

The cat, already startled by this show of togetherness, came into his own as referee.

"That was in!" the child yelled, "that was so in, wasn't it cat?"

"What would the cat know?" her father yelled back. "It was a knock-on."

"Where's JT?" the child asked.

"He's out, gone, retired. Where's the red wine?" shouted my husband at the television.

That's another thing about Origin nights. We have a drink together - another rare occurrence.

I use it as an opportunity to dig out all the old leftover bits of red wine reclining in dusty bottles at the back of the wine rack. My partner is not fussy, especially when he is watching $1000 gallop into the distance on a maroon-coloured back.

For myself, there is a large glass of Mother's Day port - or two.

And when it is all over and we have yelled ourselves hoarse, we tell each other, from the warmth of our blanket on the couch, that it was a pretty good game. Could even have been the best yet.

How long until the next one?

Marie Low is a freelance journalist.