I’m a proud Victorian. Hey I’ve even got a blog to prove it. But recently I did something very un-Victorian. Something that most Victorians would never even entertain the thought of doing.
I changed football teams.
And now I will try to both explain and justify my behaviour.
I didn’t come from a sporting family so the team that I picked all those years ago didn’t hold any deep affiliations for me. I just needed a team so that I could answer the question that gets asked so often in Victoria, ‘Who do you barrack for?’
So I picked the team closest to my childhood home, St Kilda.
It proved to be an unfortunate choice. St Kilda has not won a premiership since I began following them. There was the 1997 grand final against Adelaide. Then there was 2010’s grand final draw to Collingwood. They lost the rematch the following week. There is nothing that sours my mood more than seeing a Collingwood supporter happy.
The St Kilda players themselves have hardly endeared themselves to me or to the general public with a poor club culture, plenty of well-publicised scandals and other swirling rumours that I won’t mention here.
My answer to the question was never given with pride and it was met with pitying looks and a gentle ribbing for some of the player’s well-known indiscretions, for want of a better word.
So who did I chose to replace my sorry Saints?
A few years ago I married into an Essendon family. My husband’s nanny used to write letters to Kevin Sheedy giving him coaching tips (amazingly he replied) and my mother in law hung a picture of a surly looking Simon Madden over the bed of our first house in Geelong. I was genuinely surprised when Ben didn’t make me promise to love and honour the Bombers in the wedding vows.
I resisted giving up on St Kilda for the first few years of married life. In the end it was dream that encouraged me to take the plunge and make the change.
Just prior to last year’s Brownlow I dreamt that Jobe Watson, current skipper of the Bombers, asked me to be his date to the esteemed event. In my dream I answered, ‘What do you want to take me for? I can’t even walk in high heels’. Ben said he if I was dreaming of other men at least it was Jobe.
So this is how a few Saturday nights ago I found myself at Etihad Stadium watching the Bombers thrash top of the ladder West Coast.
West Coast verses Essendon is a grudge match and Ben was proudly telling me all of the things that need to go in this blog, like the first year that Sheedy waved his jacket at West Coast. Some time in the early 90’s. I can’t really remember now.
But yes I did enjoy myself and I must admit that it was nice to be on the side of a winning team that are unlikely to go out and humiliate themselves after the game.
With every goal kicked in the last quarter the crowd erupted into a scarf waving frenzy. Ben gave me a quick lesson in how to wave a scarf without hitting everyone around me. It’s something that I’m going to need to practise.
But now that I barrack for a good team I’m happy to take every opportunity to practise.
Both my scarf waving and high heel walking.