The thing about football

The thing about football

So, it’s another grand final day here in Sydney. The sun is out, I’ve got a brand new flatscreen TV, and the Hawkies are a chance for another flag. Of course, I’m not sure they’re going to win this one (as much as my heart says ‘yes’, my head is firm on ‘no’), but I’ve taken the time to stop and jot down a few thoughts about Grand Final Day – why? Because when in doubt, that seems to be what I do. I write. I write to understand myself. I write to understand others. I write to explore and imagine and even to entertain, even if the audience is no larger than myself.

I’ve watched a lot of Grand Finals. The first one I remember with any great clarity is the 1988 one: Hawthorn vs Geelong. I remember bursting into tears at some point during the game because the Hawks were behind. I distinctly recall being sent from the room and told not to come back until I could behave myself. Football was pretty serious business in the Heggart household, and that’s hardly the last football-related argument we’ve had.

This year, though, I’ve adopted a low-key approach to football. I’ve followed the Hawkies, but I’ve done it at arm’s-length. Not due to a lack of passion for their progress, but rather through too much passion. I know how emotionally rigorous it can be to watch the Hawkies play – especially in close games – and I’m not sure I can cope with that level of emotional turmoil. Added to that – and making it worse – is the fact that I am very conscious that I am a supporter alone in this area. I’m surrounded by Swans fans, who have already put that next premiership guernsey on lay-by. Whether they are the genuine fans – and some of them are, to be fair – or the bandwagoners, I know that, should the Swans get up, for the next few days my newsfeed is going to be full of celebrating fans. And that’s something that’s pretty painful to have to sit through, as much as I will grit my teeth and do my best to put up with it.

UPDATE: Well, we all go that wrong, didn’t we?