And the footy season begins again

I love the first round of the footy season.  To be more specific, I love the first five minutes of the first match of the first round of the footy season.  For just five minutes,  we’re all equal on zero points.  The premiership is within grasp for every team- even the wooden spooners, who this year happen to be my team, St Kilda.

Oh dear, I think that it’s going to be a very long season or two or three for my Sainters.  I confess to shedding a tear when we were beaten in our last Grand Final appearance in 2010 , fearing that I probably won’t live long enough to see them win another flag. I saw ‘another’ advisedly, because they’ve only won the premiership once in 118 years as an inaugural member of the Victorian Football League.  Some years ago my children bought me a limited edition St Kilda poster which was part of a series produced by the AFL showing the number of premierships that each team has won.

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Such elegant starkness, that one premiership.  Not tacky and over-crowded like some of those other teams’ posters.

Anyway, first round and a rare phenomenon in recent years: a match at the MCG on a Saturday afternoon.  Mr Judge barracks for Melbourne, and I suspect that this year I am going to have to look for comfort to Richmond and Melbourne,  my two ‘second’ teams.   So off we toddled to the ‘G on a balmy April afternoon, with the leaves in Yarra Park just beginning to turn, the slight whiff of bush burn-off in the air, the sun warm but not hot.

The AFL has repented of its sins in recent years by scheduling more matches at the MCG, lowering the prices of pies and, it seemed to me, reducing the number of nagging announcements about what you CAN’T do at the MCG.  One thing I didn’t like, though, was the neon-lit injunction to ‘Make a Noise for the Demons’ that ran around the fence surrounding the oval before the match. They had similar announcements at the baseball match we went to in Toronto back in 2011, and I remember thinking that at least football fans didn’t have to be instructed to barrack. Maybe not.

Well not yesterday, anyway because what a match it was!  You had the feeling that -perhaps- this is a football club that has languished at the bottom of the ladder for a few years just beginning to stir!  “It’s a grand old flag….”

And look at the ladder proudly headed my two ‘second’ teams !

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It’s not really being disloyal, is it?  I’m just having a little flirtation while my true love is away on a very, very long holiday.

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9 responses to “And the footy season begins again

  1. That’s Melbourne, (nearly) everyone loves football. I’m a Hawthorn supporter and all I can say in defence of our crowded premiership poster is that it was empty when my father was born and still empty when I was born in 1951 and for 10 years after that. And don’t you miss standing in the outer on a rainy day at Glenferrie or Moorabin.

    Anyway, good luck with all your teams, Richmond will break your heart, but Melbourne …. maybe.

  2. artandarchitecturemainly

    I have barracked for Melbourne since 1953, fortunately because our only golden era was about to start. 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964 were brilliant years!! And like you, I probably will not live long enough to see my beloved Dees win another flag.

    Yet we persist.

    I think it must be illegal to change teams and barrack for someone else. Or a sign of treachery.

  3. That moment of hope before the first ball is bounced – don’t we all just love it. I’m a Kiwi boat person originally and married into a Port Adelaide family so not only had my team chosen regardless but also changed footy codes as well. So I’m the worst sort of zealot – a convert to both the great game of Aussie Football and to the glorious Port Adelaide football club. I just love the whole thing – the drama, the excitement, the fans and the one-eyed barracking through thick and thin – commiserations for all your thin! – and don’t we have hope this year at Port! In some ways its worse than when we were rubbish. Anyhow good on the Dees (I love to see a cellar dweller rise!) and Alan Richardson will get your Saints going don’t worry!

    • residentjudge

      Thanks for commenting. Interesting comment that having hope is in someways worse when you’re achieving than when you’re rubbish. I guess that there’s more “what if…” thinking while you’re going well than the sad, sinking inevitability of defeat.

    • artandarchitecturemainly

      Jude
      marriage is a funny thing, agreed. My husband came from Sydney in the years before they had football, so all he knew was rugby. He had to learn new teams, new rules, new terminology and new colours. He still calls an umpire a ref from time to time, but he has got the rest under control 🙂

  4. I have always been a Hawthorn fan and married into an avid Hawthorn supporting family. They have supported Hawthorn for three generations (and now four generations), back to when Hawthorn were always the wooden spooners.

    I am not a die-hard fan of Aussie Rules but I love the communal aspect of it, the crowds on public transport going to/from games etc. Even if a game is not interesting much I love sitting among the crowd or with my family barracking in the lounge.

    It is when your team is in a big game that you really miss Melbourne. We could have gone to a bar or special grand final events in Singapore last year but Hubble said he didn’t like the idea of chatting to strangers (and being nice) when his team was losing. We opted to visit a family about to move to Ballarat and teach them the rules. That would distract us from the inevitability of Hawthorn losing we thought. We were astonished at the events of the day.

    My respect for you has deepened Janine. I admire St Kilda supporters (and supporters of any other wooden spoon team) for your loyalty. I hope that this will be a better year for St Kilda.

    • I don’t know if I’m quite loyal enough if I’ve been tempted by a ‘second’ team! I can understand your husband’s feeling about watching the grandfinal with strangers, especially if your team was losing. Your option sounds a good one- you could distance yourself if you needed to, and then tune in to the excitement as well.

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