Monday, July 4, 2011

Everything in moderation


Hi, my name is Anna, I’m a long-time sufferer of eczema and on the weekend I went to the football. You might have heard of it. Yeah yeah, big woop, no need to alert the press, it’s a common activity, almost every Victorian goes, it’s known colloquially as the footy, it aint no thang- is what you just responded with I assume. You’re being brash and aggressive, please hear me out. It was significant for me because it was the first game I’d attended since I was 17. I invite you to join me now, as I recreate the experience for you by way of the typed word.*

Nothing to see here.

On arrival at the ground, I did a lap or three, trying to penetrate the temple of the gods through every gate I saw until I found one that would permit me. My bag was then checked and after my liqueur and explosives were confiscated, I gracefully swept through the turnstile. If you’re not convinced about the smoothness of my turnstile entrance, know that my name actually means graceful. Boy did mum have some foresight; she no doubt thought that calling me Anna was a gamble but luckily I turned out to move like a swan/professional ballet dancer. That sentence would have a great deal more impact if you’d seen the home video footage of me dancing at my 14th birthday party to Christina Aguilera, Brandy, Pink and Lil’ Kim’s ‘Lady Marmalade’. Let me assure you - the confident and shameless gyrating of a lanky year 8 birthday girl who was actually friends with roughly three of the fifty people at her party - is nothing but alarming viewed ten years later.

Back to the big game. Once inside the ground, the first thing I noticed was how at home all the attendees were, striding with purpose to their seats. Or maybe to the merch stand to buy this St Kilda Nursery Pack. It’s worth noting that the little bear head with the square blanket attached to it is called a Comforter. Now, some of the more fanatical fans looked very at home; they looked as if they went to the football more often than the toilet. (Depending on how often they go to the toilet. I wouldn’t profess to know intimate details about their diet. Everyone consumes different amounts of fibre.)**

Speaking of a worrying lack of dietary fibre, I’m happy to report that the food available at the MCG is still as disturbing as ever. I saw a plate for ten dollars that offered a white roll with some animal in it and then some chips on the side. Not hot chips you presumptuous, culinary snob! What high demands you have. They were Lays. I think I should post the meal on or catchoftheday and wait for bites.

Anyway, some people are really into their football team and this is what raised my eyebrows during my MCG adventure.  Now, I understand and support going to the footy. It’s good to get out of the house. I also understand liking and respecting a sport. I’ve always encouraged fit young men to pursue their athleticism to an elite level. Ask anyone. Those supporters who would die for the club they’ve chosen to barrack for, however, are more difficult to relate to. Watching them made every second of the game worthwhile. It may have been the greatest AFL clash in the competition’s long history for all I knew; I was really only watching these NQR enthusiasts. Perspective is not something they care to grasp. Why should they? Who made the rules in regard to social acceptability anyway? Some uptight suit who wouldn’t know a good specky when he saw one I would suggest. 

They’re the kind of fans who the players themselves would avoid at all costs if they had the appalling social misfortune of bumping into one at Young & Jacksons. The kind of fan who paints his face for every game, finals or not, and who practises proposing to his revered Chris Judd most days. ‘Chris, mate, you know I’m heterosexual per se, but I’ll never respect any woman as profoundly as I do you, so I have no other choice. Marry me you heroic son-ov-a.’ I hope you can picture exactly what this man looks like. Let’s just say that he doesn’t take his cap off for anyone or anything (i.e. the shower). These people look at me like I’m a freak for not sporting any team colours. Who is this plain dressing idiot who doesn’t identify with either team? How am I supposed to assess whether she’s a legend or a drongo? In this environment, I was a freak and as comparatively boring as a drain pipe.

I watched a woman stand up in disgust, her hair streaked with her team’s colours, and yell at a player, ‘WHAT WAS THAT HANDPASS? YOU’RE A JOKE.’ That she felt entitled to abuse the professional footballer like this is as hilarious as it is preposterous. As she resumed her seat she looked over at me and caught me staring, mouth gaping. I panicked, turned to the play and yelled ‘THE HEAD IS SACROSANCT BOYS....BE SURE TO KEEP THIS IN MIND DURING TODAY’S CLASH...’ I hope the players found this coaching tip worthwhile.

It's the caricatures like the ones I encountered at the Zoo the MCG who make life interesting for the rest of us, the more temperate, restrained members of society. Actually, I can't claim to be one of the restrained members of society.*** For the 'out-there' types, life's not so much about keeping a balance. Some things in moderation, but when it comes to particular interests, be it the Geelong cats, pet cats or Amusement Park rides, go  freaking nuts.

Thank you for joining me for my AFL tale.  Let me finish with this statement- The person who first suggested that ‘sarcasm is the lowest form of humour’ obviously didn’t see that episode of The Footy Show when Dancing Dave came on.

* Reading this won’t be anything like being there with me because I don’t write well enough.

** If you get nothing else out of this article, I hope you take away the message that fibre consumption varies from person to person.

*** See any of the videos on this website.

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