It's the little things - for the non footy follower you wouldn't understand
It is strange what breaks us in the end, the thing that sends the held back flood gates of tears flowing. It has been a long 20 months for us in Victoria between lockdowns, media bias, disconnection with our community, isolation from our family , so many out of work. It has been tough. But we have all soldiered on , done our best, believed in the greater good , believed in humanity, rolled up our sleeves and got vaxxed with the belief that better days will come.
This awful week in Melbourne we have seen riots and the society I believe in crumble under the weight of extremism and right wing media.We have seen those services that hold our society together, police and health attacked, spat on and harassed. It almost broke me .And then in the midst of us all hanging on to our sanity we were shaken by an earthquake, the universe smiled on us for a little bit as we were shaken but not damaged. I don't think we could of collectively taken that.
Today is grand final day . For a non footy person it would mean nothing. I get that. However for me it is means a lot, more than a game of footy, more than a sport. It means connection, it means family, it means Melbourne, it is Victoria. It is the state I love , the city I love in all her parochial colour and noise. It is the public holiday parade where competing teams display their colours and for the nervous twenty four hours prior to the big bounce you live in hope and nervous agitation. It is a ripple of energy , an electrifying buzz as you seek out like minded people of your clan who feel the same thing. It is waking up early and watching repeats of the great grand finals to get you in the vibe. It is early morning shopping , getting the platters ready , preparing the BBQ and dressing up your lounge in the colours of the team you will support. If your team is in the grand final it is next level anxiety , joy and excitement. It is family, tipping competitions, it is the walk to the G with all the colours of the day on show, it is watching a special joy unfold . As the waft of onions cooking on the lunchtime BBQ begins to spread across the suburbs you know it won't be long before the entertainment starts, and you wait with gleeful anticipation to see how bad it can get and that stunned relief when they get it right ( hello The Killers ) . It is watching the teams run onto the field looking for small clues who is switched on , who is ready, who is gonna biff someone, who you want to get a smack in the head, lines are drawn, teams are picked . At 2 p.m on a Saturday afternoon , the last Saturday in September the national anthem is sung as a stadium of 100,000 people roar into life as the ball is held high.
This is my Melbourne.
But today is not the same , the game will be played in another state. There is no MCG walks, no gathering of family, no wafting onions on the barbie floating thru suburbia , no afternoon game. Everything is different . For two years in a row it is not how it should be.
And this is what finally broke me .
When your team is in the grand final there is NOTHING sweeter. This photo was taken after the 2013 grand final which my team HAWTHORN won . My mum lived just long enough to see this win and it was just a joyous celebration. My mum would have to watch the grand final by herself if Hawthorn were in it , her anxiety was to much.
Hawthorn and footy is what connected us all, a shared love and belief and a special kind of delirium.
So my non footy friends today I am just a bit sad, it is hard to explain or understand. I feel like the fabric of what holds my city and myself together is being tested and taken away , it feels like a never ending battle to have simplicity back in our lives.
Melbournians and Victorians have done so much and endured so much over the last 20 months for the collective good so it is perfectly apt that today it is two Victorian teams playing in the grand final, again showing the resilience of Victorians.
May the best team win and may there be a time soon when we can all get back to the mighty MCG and sing our songs, hug strangers, and celebrate living.
And because I want to believe in fairytales - Go Demons