A Flag at last!
And yes I do feel different today... it is strange but somehow that 'mantle of uncertainty' that accompanies every winter and spring in Melbourne has lifted. We (the Mighty Magpies) can win a premiership when I am actively supporting. But I just can't attend the game!
Or at least that's how I feel given that the only other Flag came when I stayed away in 1990 to look after my new son.
Watch out this blog is even more self focused than usual... as as Bette Midler famously said in Beaches... "That's enough about me... now what do you think about me?"
- I was there for the draws throughout the finals, the last minutes defeats and the failure in the Grand Final Replay of 1977.
- I was there when the Essendon Cheer Squad set fire to the floggers, when Jim O'Dea ruined the life and playing career of Johnny Greening.
- I have cried with Bobby Rose and the boys, watched as Peter Hudson overtook Peter McKenna for the league top goal scorer despite Macca bagging over 100.
- I ran onto the ground to jointhe momentous moment of 100 goal hauls and after finals wins
- I have held the run through at the G when the high winds broke it and we were helped by the GeelongCheersqau I think it was (Anybody remember?) And Thanks Guys you were great..
- I have been trapped in the Waverly car park (in the old days) and not able to exit until well after 8pm one Saturday day match.
- I had my first real kiss on the bussafter Collingwood losing a first semi, and after a cheersquad day at the snow. ( I was horrified as the guy I had a crush on was watching and it seemed so gross!)
- I met my first gay friends in the Collingwood Cheer Squad and found a place where everyone was accepted just because we lived and breathed black and white.
- I have arrived at the 'G', Kardinia Park, and Waverley very early on Saturday mornings to tie the banners around the fences.
- I have spent countless weeknights helping construct the run through in the old Vic Park visitor change rooms.
- Not to mention sharing sleeping bags with georgeous young men under the stands at Vic Park camping out for Finals Tickets.
The tears of angst, frustration and sheer joy cannot be explianed to people who have not felt this 'belonging' and tribalism that a Victorian Football Club 'family' can bring.
One of the major reasons we are so tight is a shared history of near misses and total devastation. We back up and continue our loyally... no matter what. I
n the old days we were part of the colour and spectacle but only now under the stewardship of Eddie does the Club actually acknowledge the role played by The Magpie Army in getting the players up and across the line. It was fantastic that President, Captain and Coach gave thanks for this supporter support... yet I wasn't there.
It now seems that if one is not earning a quite reasonable wage... it is no longer possible to be there. Even a standing room ticket is $145, the petrol would be $20 so a train ticket return is better at $11, and $22 station parking. The Record is $15. I just cannot justify this when it represents more than 50% of my current weekly income. More if I wanted a reserve seat and Club membership.
Am I still a member of the Magpie Army?
Collingwood now has special categories of members... the over ten year group... etc. Well I was bothe Club member and Cheersquad member for the entire turbulent seventies... but I have no official status and must aply to join all over again and work my way back up. Can I afford this commitment whilst at the same time investing heavily in my (hopefully) future career by paying for Conferences, Seminars, Colloquia and Training Workshops?
Let alone my occasional extravagent splurge to my 'other family'... the theatre Industry?
So am I the same person today as yesterday?
No. I am overjoyed and relieved yet saddened as I feel a chapter of my life has come to a close.
I will always stand SIDE BY SIDE withy both my families even when I am not able to be there in person.