As published by The Footy Almanac, 28 May 2012
A paediatrician told me recently the key to navigating toddler tantrums is to lower your expectations of their behaviour by 50%. It made sense because I’d successfully applied the same theory to maintain my sanity amid the delights and disappointments of Collingwood fandom.
So come Saturday night’s clash between the seriously depleted Magpies and a barnstorming Adelaide, I simply gave it away as a bridge too far. Rohan Connolly’s article in The Age, where he boldly predicted the Magpies would continue their supreme interstate form, made no difference. Collingwon’t this time Rohan, but thanks for exposing the fallacy of our supposedly advantageous homey fixture.
Nonetheless, you’d think a genuine match of the round featuring a sure fire ratings winner would be on free-to-air, but these here are crazy times and GWS v Essendon was the lacklustre fare served up by Seven.
This revelation discombobulated my equilibrium, for I faced the mental anguish I refer to as ‘the unbearable lightness of not being there’. Yes there is Foxtel, but if I was to pitch the business case for pay-TV in my house to the Dragons’ Den panel I’d invoke Theo Paphitis’ searing stare as quickly as haughty Peter Jones could say ‘I’m out’.
I could always disappear into the night and make for the nearest local, but given my wife had been slaving in the kitchen all day preparing for my girl’s 4th birthday party, I wasn’t about to Tom Scully her.
Until now I had no interest and little understanding of the phoney war waged between the AFL, Telstra and Optus. Perhaps a free crack in the fence view of the game via my iPhone will be valuable after all considering the nature of the current super duper TV deal.
Given I’d been up since the Thunderbirds expecting 50% worse of my two kidlets yet still being 73% disappointed, to be honest not watching Collingwood and all the associated stress was an appealing notion.
We flicked to my wife/daughter’s team enjoying their training run at the tremendous new Skoda Stadium. The 11,000 Bomber devotees appeared as animated as the equivalent number of orange plastic seats on display. After five minutes of that tedium we gave Eurovision a burst. Russia’s entry comprising a troupe of pensioners disappointed and saddened me in equal measures. Is that really what Anna Kournakova will look like one day?
In a bid for husband points I suggested we play a taped episode of Offspring. About the only relevance of this show to my team, which at this time was engaged in a pitched battle in front of a chock full AAMI Stadium, is Asher Keddie being a dedicated ‘Pie. Who would have thunk? Seeing her in a Collingwood jumper in the rooms after the Cats triumph instantly made her 37% more attractive in my view, and her chick drama 24% more bearable.
But the suddenly stunning Asher’s hapless character Nina was about to endure the tragic break-up to end all tragic break-ups. This time it was perfect Patrick, played by Matthew Le Nevez (soon to be seen as Dennis Lillee’s chest hair in the upcoming Howzat series). Just as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon supposedly synchronises with The Wizard of Oz, Nina’s myriad facial contortions and fraught emotional state doubtless matched the abnormally few Collingwood supporters watching from wherever. And bizarrely for me, here I was consumed by neurotic Nina – so much for Offspring being the stress-free alternative.
There was no happy ending and the match at Skoda was almost out of its misery. I could then and there avail myself of the Pies’ unhappy demise. But I let it go, I didn’t want to know. But then I did. And then I didn’t. I turned the light out and tried to sleep – a deluded notion given 15 minutes later my urge to pee was as strong as knowing the damage.
I grabbed my iPhone and what???? No! Yes!!!
I felt robbed. More so reading the Twitter stream – even taking into account the 47% surplus excitement!! typical to the medium. Sharrod Wellingham said it was a ‘win for the ages’. Oh, great!
Luckily my friends at my covert Collingwood fansite posted the URL to another covert website that quickly provides free AFL replays of every match. With an inner glow, the next morning I watched the last quarter with my black and white supporting offspring. It was nice but knowing the result killed the excitement.
My mind turned to Nina (or was it Asher?). Ridiculously, maybe there were footy lessons to be learned from the show. Such as keeping a safe distance is not what makes football, and life, truly worth experiencing.
And you never know the true exaltation of winning unless you’re prepared to take the chance of being disappointed.
Finally, am I sounding like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & the City? Good grief, I need to get to the local more often!