Sep 29, 2009

The Top 5 Days Of My Life (as dictated by Geelong Premierships)

Some people - those who are not wise in the ways of the world- have told me, over the years, that football doesn't really matter, that there are more important things in life, that football is just a game. Up until 2007 when Geelong won our first premiership in 44 years, I would reply 'If only that were true,' such was the pain of having to live through four grand final losses without seeing the ultimate success once.

In the last quarter of the 2007 Grand Final, when we were already 100 points ahead and certain of the win, I sent out a mass text to family and friends that said something like this -

I love yous all. This is one of the top 5 days of my life.

Reservoir Mum and a few astute others sent a message back asking what other events filled the top 5, suspecting that maybe I didn't have too many other passions that would really trouble the list. I replied -

1. Marriage to Reservoir Mum
2. Archie & Lewis's birth
3. 2007 Geelong Premiership

It dawned on me that they were right. I was two short of top 5. So being the clever dick that I am I filled in the top 5 to come up with this -

1. Marriage to Reservoir Mum
2. Archie & Lewis's birth
3. 2007 Geelong Premiership
4. 2008 Geelong Premiership
5. 2009 Geelong Premiership

I was stupidly happy. It was happiness mixed with relief and emotional fulfilment and a sense of accomplishment and a ton of pride and a shitload of getstuffedallyoubastardswhothoughtwecouldn'tdoit.

That day and that night I hugged thousands of blue and white clad strangers and thought about my life and what the Geelong Football Club was to my childhood and my family and my sense of self and I could only come to the conclusion that it was a great thing to be so passionate. It's a wonderful thing.

So when I was confronted with ‘It’s only a game,’ by the few naysayers who thought that my celebration was excessive, my reply was simple - 'Thank God it is not.'

It's only a game they said again in 2008 when I watched us lose a fifth Grand Final. The pain was so overwhelming that I was forced temporarily back to my pre-2007 reply, 'If only that were true.'

And the Top 5 Days of My Life had to be altered -

1. Marriage to Reservoir Mum
2. Archie & Lewis's birth
3. 2007 Geelong Premiership
4. 2009 Geelong Premiership

2008 left a glaring hole that made 2009 a very long season. Tyson was born and I said to Reservoir Mum several times how I'd love to have a child born in a Geelong Premiership year. It wasn't looking good for a while. We had been stung by the Grand Final loss and not many gave us a real chance of winning the Flag. There were several sides capable of winning and as the season wore on the Geelong team started to stumble, losing players to injury, dropping form, losing games.

But the Cats regrouped. Players returned from injury just in time and form lifted. The spirit was there and we played some of our best footy to make the 2009 Grand Final.

I was a nervous wreck leading up to it. I neglected most things except for the kids (sorry Reservoir Mum) and spent most of the week locked inside myself. Another loss would be disastrous. Another win would bring euphoria. Both of those scenarios played themselves out in my head, over and over.

I read all footy-related print media, watched every news report and footy-related television program and listened to
SEN on the radio from morning to night. I took the boys to the open training session at Skilled Stadium on the Monday and took them to the Grand Final parade on the Friday. I spent a lot of money on Grand Final tickets for me and my old man.

Finally the day arrived and we were off the Grand Final breakfast at Etihad Stadium where we dined on fine cuisine, drank champagne and beer and were entertained by comedians and musicians. But nothing could ease the tension or distract us from the significance of the game ahead.

As we boarded the bus from Etihad to the MCG the fire in the belly grew. The jaw clenched. The forearms flexed. The us against them mentality overwhelmed and I looked at St.Kilda supporters with contempt. I hoped, desperately, that it would be them falling to the ground in despair as the final siren sounded, and not us.

I got my wish. The Cats won their second flag in three years after a gutsy, brutal, desperate game. I'll never forget the elation. After the game a St.Kilda supporter squeezed past me, as the Cats did their lap of honor. He said,’ Congratulations' with a tear in his eye. I said, 'Bad luck, mate. Awesome game' with a tear in mine.

A great day was made even better because I got to share it with my Dad, and good mates Garry and Brendan. It's something we'll have forever.

With this win comes another redrafting of the Top 5 Best Days of My Life. Having thought about it, I probably shouldn't squeeze Archie, Lewis and Tyson into one day just so I can include more Geelong Premierships. They really do deserve there own birthdays (hehe). So here it is -

1. Marriage to Reservoir Mum
2. Archie's birth*
3. Lewis's birth*
4. Tyson's birth*
5. 2007 and 2009 Geelong Premierships**

Just a game?
Thank god it's not!

*Numbers 2 – 4 are interchangeable.
**I know that's technically six days but it's my list, so back off. Hopefully, I can add several more to number 5 in the years to come.


Anonymous said...

Onya RD, I'm happy for you. Passion makes the world go round eh. I hope to be feeling the same next July, when England WIN THE WORLD CUP!

Kyles Smiles said...

I just wanna know whether you bought all the Geelong paraphernalia that you're wearing in that first photo!