Wednesday, June 01, 2005

friday musings on all things football

i guess now is the time to admit my relationship with the geelong football club. some people know of it, and think perhaps it's merely a flirtation. i have to confess, while i have never been a member and never gone to maybe more than six games in one season, i feel a big part of my life journey is tied up with the gfc.

back to the beginnings. the genesis. the last time the gfc won a premiership was the year i was born. three months before, for i am a december babe. that means they haven't won since I HAVE BEEN ALIVE.

think about this.

the first team i barracked for was collingwood. i am ashamed to admit this. because even though the man i love and am going to marry is a RABID pies fan, i find all things collingwood distasteful and thuggish. sorry. but in primary school i was in love with:

1. peter mckenna

2. paul t from school. paul barracked for collingwood so i did too.

then came the grand final of 1978? or thereabouts. clokey will know, i can never remember. my aunt took me to the mcg for the match, and collingwood DREW with whoever it was, north melbourne? then we went back the next week and they LOST.

i decided i didn't want to go for such a loser team and bailed. kids are fickle, so whatever.

then years pass. i wasn't interested in football. i liked netball. softball. horse riding. etc.

then i had a crush on an essendon supporter and so we would go in a big group to the footy. during this time i started going with dad to some geelong games. this is like the mid '80s.

like everyone else, i fell in love with gary ablett. i didn't much care for his tree trunk legs and thinning hair, but he played football like an angel. i got on board the bandwagon. i went to games. i went to finals. i went to grand finals. and they never won.
1989 grand final against hawthorn was spent in a pub in the middle of nowhere with a couple of mates. we'd been camping up on lake eyre, and contemplated the lake as it filled with water for the fourth time in white history. we drove for four hours to get to a pub which we knew would be telecasting the match. it was exciting, we screamed, we drank, we entertained the old codgers in the public bar with our city-shennanigans. and they lost.

1995 grand final against carlton. my sister and i dared to invest. emotionally i mean. we knew the risks. we knew the dangers yet still we went. and were crushed. i could have killed the carlton supporter who paraded in front of us like a blue fucking rooster. with my bare hands, i could have done him.

the next year, i was pregnant with princess and my father had the bright idea that my brother should receive a signed copy of the new gary ablett book. my dad was working so i went to line up to get the signature at melbourne central. along with about 2 thousand other people. i waited my turn. i queued. i felt light-headed and fainty, but still i managed to get to the table where he was sitting. he was tired and shy. i'd seen him signing books without even looking at the people who were standing breathlessly in front of him. somehow my huge stomach caught his eye, and he looked up. he asked me when i was due. i told him. he said congratulations, and that a mate of his was due that month too. he said, "i hope everything goes well for you, good luck."

if he had laid his hands on, i couldn't have felt more blessed.

i know bad stuff happened after that, but i still have a soft spot for old gary. apart from the exchange at the book signing, he also once kicked a practice goal down at kardinia park and smashed my dad in the face, breaking his glasses and forcing him to go to the sick bay for the cut under his eye. i think i wrote gary a letter after that, which was basically a fan letter but telling him he'd smashed my dad in the face.

but yes, a soft spot for gary senior. which is why it's upsetting to hear that he mowed off half of his foot recently, when he was doing the lawns. this from a friend of dad's who has all the insider knowledge at catland.

dad said there's a ticket for tonight if i want to go, but i said i'll watch from home, where i can at least drink wine from a glass glass. and be warm. i told him to get the information from his mate and call me directly to let me know. so i might have an update for you by the end of the weekend.
as if anyone cares.

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