There’s no way in hell my kids are barracking for any team other than Geelong Cats.
Yeah. That’s right.
I agree with most of the advice in the above paragraph. Might surprise you then to know that I snuck away and hid Lewis’s soccer ball in the garage when he started to show more interest in it than the glorious Sherrin. Also might surprise you that I spent an hour convincing Archie that he was mistaken when he said he liked the Collingwood Magpies better then The Geelong Cats. I was relentless. And successful. I am happy to report that Archie now knows the Geelong team song and Lewis walks around with a toddler-sized Sherrin under his arm (Geelong colors of course).
Yesterday, Archie, without prompting, said, “Daddy, I like the Cats. I don’t like the Blues.”
That’s tear provoking stuff right there because I know I have molded this young boy into a Geelong Cats-addicted AFL junkie just like me, just like his Pa and just like his late Great-Grandfather. Yep, I worked at it, I steared him away from forming his own opinion. I gave this boy no choice. And I am one happy Daddy.
Archie has now been added to a family history that includes four generations of Geelong supporters and over 90 years of history. Now to work on Lewis. Very soon, probably even next year, three generations of my family will be going to Geelong games together and screaming our guts out. You can’t buy that sort of life-long bonding material.
There are some things, specific to family culture, which overrule all those otherwise solid parenting guidelines. When they are much older I will show Archie and Lewis this rant and they will love me for it. Just like I love my old man for forcing me down this path many years ago. It set up years of Saturday afternoons together. Years of phone calls and visits to discuss ins and outs, injuries, team form, draft choices, disappointments for past seasons and hopes for upcoming seasons.
My Dad was born in 1951 the year the Cats won the first of back-to-back flags. He was clearly too young to remember it. I like to imagine my Grandfather listening to the radio, hanging on every minute of the game. He would have loved it.
Last year the mighty Cats won their first flag in 44 years. Dad and I witnessed our first Geelong Premiership together. This weekend the Cats are up for their second tilt at back-to-back flags. It’s an emotional week. Dad and I will be riding every minute desperate to see the Premiership cup in the hands of Captain Tom Harley and Coach Mark Thompson at the end of the game. We will party long and hard and I’ll have some great stories for Archie and Lewis to pass on to my grandkids. I love the fact that I had no choice in being a Geelong supporter. I had been at my first day of primary school and was mixing with a lot of wayward Corio kids, a few of who were filling my head with some crazy ideas.
When Dad came home from work I ran up to him and said, ‘Dad, I’m barracking for the Bombers now because they Bomb ‘em’’. A very cute, child-like thing to say.
Dad dropped his bag, knelt down, looked me in the eye and said, ‘You barrack for The Cats, mate, or you're moving out.’
That’s some pretty special parenting right there.
Go Cats! Back to Back flags 2007/2008.