The Most wasted of all days is one without laughter
By The Football Tragic
I’ve been constantly reminded by the sporting media over the course of the last fortnight that Collingwood hadn’t travelled interstate to play a match for near on 12 months, and that the Pies mid-season trip to Arizona was the first venture any Collingwood personnel had made out to Tullamarine so far this year. It must have been the case as I found myself with no pre booked appointment with the MCG or the Dome, neigh Colonial, neigh Etihad Stadium, over the weekend prior to last. Rather, my couch and I had a dinner date with some James Squire’s Amber Ale, the South Morang pizza shop delivery man and the old man on Saturday evening. Low and behold, my non frequenting football friends called midweek and posed the question, Richmond v Melbourne on Saturday afternoon at the G? With the better half working on her latest Uni assignment, I gleefully accepted the offer and ventured out with them. I’d hoped to catch up with The Holy Boot for a beverage and chat, however he was predisposed with his little ones and positioned at the complete opposite end of the ground down the Ponsford end.
Finding a seat on the third tier of the Southern Stand above the Richmond cheer squad, I was bemused to say the least when those in the vicinity asked if I was a Melbourne supporter. I was in non competing colours, a Billabong jumper, jeans and sneakers; I questioned why they made such an assumption.
Advised politely by the gentlemen that as I wasn’t in competing colours, surely I must be a Melbourne supporter; I chuckled momentarily, advised them I was a Collingwood supporter and the opportunity to catch a live game for the weekend was too good to miss. To which they, once again extremely politely, requested I support the Dee’s for the day, as they believed additional support in the pro Richmond area was required. I’d previously asked the question of the ‘twittersphere’ of who to support for the day, the general consensus being Richmond. Seemingly everyone has a closet Richmond supporter inside of them, laying dormant in that subconscious facility that very few football fans explore.
I’d decided earlier, in the days leading into Saturday that I was keen on once again undertaking the ‘Maxwell Challenge’ (check it out at – http://www.nickmaxwell.com.au/2011/05/30/experts-experts-everywhere/) watching an individual player in isolation and observing their patterns and positioning. Without seeking the approvals of others, I’d settled on Colin Sylvia for a quarter and Chris Newman for another, both extremely different players in terms of roles and positions for their respective clubs. Without going into extreme detail, the performance of both was pivotal. Newman marshalled his defensive unit with aplomb, despite the lacklustre output and attempted isolation of Luke McGuane and David Gourdis from the Melbourne forwards. Sylvia on the other hand impressed me with his coverage – pressing through the midfield and half back as a lead up forward, then changing on the ball in a true midfield capacity. Yet, even watching in isolation and with the headset in and listening to 3AW’s coverage of the game, I was bemused by the antics of those around me.
I’m not one to state the blatantly obvious, especially not in this forum, but every club has their ‘unique’ fans, for as much as Joffa Corfe wears the brunt of the Collingwood criticism and outcry and Sean Callanan is ridiculed for his poor impersonation of the ‘Didak Shimmy’ on Grand Final Day 2010 v2, I discovered some new favourites on Saturday. As an avid listener of SEN, I’m humoured every week on a Monday morning by a colourful individual known as ‘Trout’ from Woodend and his consistent sledging of ‘Essendoom’ regardless of the Bombers performance over the weekend. I had my first ‘Trout’ encounter on Saturday – his sparking of the cheer squad in his yellow wig, parading the aisle, looking like Cyclops from X-Men with his sunglasses, as vocal as his look is bizarre. Then there was the diehard Tiger in front of me.
Clearly sailing three sheets into the wind and remarkably entering the ground with an esky (something I’d not seen in over a decade) and one definitely filled with some well smuggled alcoholic beveage, his performance was worthy of an Academy Award. Absolutely cock-a-hoop in the first 10 minutes of the game, his demeanour gradually subsided into dismay. By three quarter time he was in desperate need of a Fisherman’s Friend, those behind me referencing the ‘You’re a wuss Wilson’ and within 5 minutes of the last quarter he’d walked out on his Tigers. In the space of two hours I’d observed more of his bum crack than I dare recall, seen him jiggle on the third tier, scarf in hand trying to distract Ty Vickery, his own player, on a set shot and heard the pearl of wisdom ‘I’m not a colourist, I hate all you umpires. Wear black, red, white, green, yellow, whatever – you’re all cheats. I’d still bloody hate you if you weren’t even out there!’ along with his sledging of umpire Brett Rosebury and his inept performance – despite Rosebury not officiating until later that day and in Sydney no less. Clearly this Richmond supporter wasn’t one that allowed the facts get in the way of an emotional outburst.
Stereotypically I had my new acquired Melbourne supporting buddies request my assistant – asking where that ‘red headed forward was’ and ‘the fellow with the Hitler moustache’ – being Bate and Dunn, were? You know, that number 6 and 14! Go Dee’s, ra ra ra. I advised them that they were playing with the Casey Scorpions, they looked bewildered and asked why it wasn’t made known in the media that they’d been delisted midyear! However the greatest pearls of wisdom were those directed at Jack Riewoldt. I thought I’d seen and heard it all whilst at the footy until Saturday. The reigning Coleman Medallist was referred to as Jay Schulz on multiple occasions and one ‘supporter’ spitefully asked if Port Adelaide would entertain a trade for Riewoldt, requesting Shulz and Rodan in return – I simply couldn’t help but laugh. If you Tiger supporters don’t want Jack, we’ll have him at Collingwood – I dare suggest 17 other clubs, GWS included will line up to make an offer.
After weeks of negative press regarding football crowd behaviour, yet again highlighted over the weekend in the Herald Sun by the ‘death wish’ Sydneysider in the Collingwood cheer squad, it’s important that we remember that characters in the crowd make football what it is – a social institution. All these comments were humorous and without malice, getting a rise out of everyone in the vicinity. The game in itself is often referred to as over sanitised, the dry humour of someone like Dane Swan often generating more negativity than people finding the laugh in it all, but the viability of the laugh can’t be disputed. I’ve not enjoyed a game as much as I did on that Saturday for a long term, maybe because there was no vested interest in the result for myself, but the laugh was worth the price of admission alone.
- The Football Tragic
These thoughts and opinions are those of the author and are not necessarily aligned with those of Nick Maxwell or the people at nickmaxwell.com.au
Comment posted by Anonymous on 2011-07-08 06:47:59
I see nothings changed since the 1950s when Melbourne supporters would say "Well played Number 31" (Davo)
Comment posted by Boot Studder on 2011-07-08 00:35:24
Great stuff nath- absolutely cracks me up thinking about the richmond supporter trying to distract Ty vickery!! Imagine if you'd gone to the Richmond v Carlton match? Good Lord that wouldv'e been interesting. A social institution indeed.
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