SEVEN years of sweat, grime, mud, dew and above all else, stench, are woven into the fabric of the pink shirt from Hawkesbury City Football Club’s kit bag.
A matching jersey and shorts, which circa 2010 were once bright pink have faded to an odd cream colour, contrasted with black patches of grime.
This is something you do not want to wear. It is putrid, horrible, disgusting.
Yet once a week, Hawkesbury City players and coaches gather in a huddle at training to determine which player has performed the stupidest act of the week, and must accept the dishonour of donning the pink shirt.
It is no exaggeration to say the jersey has never been blessed by the cleansing properties of soap and water.
As Kosta Zarafetas reluctantly donned his punishment for an act the team refused to reveal, one player suggested he wear something underneath.
Another player had developed some sort of rash, the first player said.
It sounded like a joke, but then again, one look at the jersey and there could be something in it.
“I am not sure about the truth of that,” Zarafetas said with an uneasy look.
When deserving, the kit is split in two, with the major indiscretion receiving the jersey, while the shorts go to the lesser infraction.
Hawkesbury coach Dean Bertenshaw is in charge of doling out the jersey, although it is a team effort to determine who wore the jersey.
Bertenshaw said there was no shortage of hilariously embarrassing acts as contenders for the grand prize of the pink jersey.
“They are football players,” he joked. “Sooner or later they’ll do something stupid.”
Zarafetas was clearly unimpressed with his gift from the club.
“It smells a lot. It is pretty uncomfortable, it is a bit too tight to me,” he said.
“This is the first time I've worn it. It is disgusting and it is really dirty.”
One of the most recent sins was as follows. One player organised with another to pick him up from Blacktown Train Station. When the player with the car turned up, late, to the station, he was puzzled because he could not locate his team mate.
A quick phone call later and he discovered that his passenger was patiently waiting for him at Seven Hills Train Station, where they had arranged to meet.
Another club favourite was a player who had trouble figuring out which way agility poles went into the ground.
The poles have a spike at one end so they can be driven into the ground, but this player had to make about four attempts at driving the blunt end in before realising his error, which he made in front of the entire team.