Today the lovely Naomi, friend and blogger over at Under The Yardarm, and I are swapping blogs. To talk serious business: tomorrow's AFL Grand Final, where my team, St Kilda, will be taking on Naomi's team, Collingwood.
Neither Naomi nor I ever - ever! - imagined sitting here writing about football, or being involved in the friendly rivalry that this game inspires. We both grew up without so much as a second glance at the AFL ladder - but our kids are enjoying a somewhat different experience...
A few years ago I knew nothing really about football. Hubby didn't watch and the kids were unaware of its existence. I made all the right noises at work for the yearly footy day, but that was about it. A move to Victoria changed all that and now myself, The Green Eyed Girl and The Blue Eyed boy are members of what is, without a hint of bias, the best team.
One eyed you say? Maybe. Just a little. But Collingwood runs in my blood.
The story goes, as told by my Dad, (one of the all time great story tellers) that his grandfather was Collingwood born. Literally. In an ally. I can hear Dad's voice now as he tells his grandchildren the tale.
"Your Great, great grandfather was literally born on the streets of Collingwood." Now this may or may not be entirely accurate, but as Dad also says, "Never let the truth stand in the way of a great story". Truer words were never spoken.
Whatever the accuracy of my family beginnings, it is now legend and we are forevermore Collingwood people.
In the past few years I have been to a number of games, some with my Dad and kids, some with friends and their kids. Even Hubby and my Mum have come to a few. Every game we go to we win. The Blue Eyed Boy is certain he is a lucky charm. I tend to agree. I also agree that once I enter the hallowed place that is the MCG I become another person, or, another version of myself. The bogan that I am sure resides in all of us just a little, finds its way to the surface. And I like it.
At first when we started going to the games I was not really sure what was going on... The Blue Eyed Boy would say, Mummy who is that player? Um... I don't know was my usual reply (while thinking, but he looks mighty fine in those shorts) ... Mum why do the crowd yell BAAAAAAALLLLL the Green Eyed Girl would ask, er, I haven't got a clue sweetheart.
Fast forward to this year, and a nail biting match at Etihad Stadium between The Hot Pies and the cold dogs (Collingwood and Western Bulldogs) - imagine a nice family all sitting together, looking refined, laughing, chatting, paying loving attention to their children? I was sitting next to them. Yelling BAAAAAAAALL and YOU MUST BE FARRRRRKING JOKING - WHAT ARE YOU BLIND??? And Oh My God HARRY YOU BLOODY BEAUTY! and RUUUUN Leon RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN! not to forget ONYA DAISY!!!!
At three quarter time while Hubby took the Blue Eyed Boy off for a food run, and The Green Eyed Girl chatted to BestPam and her lovely children, I stood and talked tactics with a complete stranger. Well, she was kind of a stranger, she had her members lanyard and was wearing black and white, so more family member than stranger.
Along with my transformation is the children's. The Blue Eyed Boy in particular. He has gone from a wide eyed little boy to an eleven year old wise to the game. He sits on the edge of his seat at games yelling and throws his hands up in despair, disbelief or in pure joy. He proudly wears his guernsey on game day as well as when we don't go to matches and has learnt to talk footy banter with people. Perhaps the best part of the game is standing, united by the joy of a win, side by side with my kids and my Dad in a sea of black and white proudly singing out team song.
This year has been a big one for Collingwood. We have not won a premiership since 1990. Before that our last win was 1958. We are the team others love to hate. We are strong, we are resilient. We are ready. But, that is all I will say, because, like all true footy tragics I have developed my own superstitions and I don't want to jinx anything.
Thanks Naomi! You can read my post on Naomi's blog here. Oh, and - Go Saints!