Monday, September 27, 2010


Thursday is usually my Blog Day; the day when I seem to feel most inspired to write a new post. However last Thursday came and went without so much as a Cameo appearance by my Muse. I sat and stared at a blank page. I even wrote a paragraph or two, which I promptly deleted. I just didn’t seem to have anything to say.

However, Saturday was that ‘One Day in September’ which is so special to all fans of Aussie Rules Football - the day when the Grand Final was played. It was to be a battle between Collingwood and St Kilda – neither of which team is of any great importance in our household as Pete is a fan of Carlton and I’m really not all interested in football. Still, Pete was definitely cheering for St Kilda because, he told me, no one likes Collingwood. In fact, he went on to say, apart from the actual Collingwood supporters themselves, everyone else HATES the team.

I asked him why and he immediately began to tell me how they are such ‘dirty’ players, so cocky and arrogant, and, apparently, totally without any redeeming qualities at all. And I found myself remembering another life in which I lived in a household of Essendon fans. At least once during each football season there would be a match between Essendon and Carlton and the menfolk would be glued to the TV. I would hear them yelling at the Umpire every time a decision went Carlton’s way. Each time there was any bodily contact which resulted in an Essendon player ending up on the ground, I would hear them expounding their opinions of the ‘dirty’ tactics employed by Carlton. And, if Essendon lost the match, it was always because the Umpire had favoured Carlton and not because Carlton had actually been the better team on the day.

Nowadays it is all the other way around. When Essendon and Carlton play against each other it is Essendon who are the dirty players and who get all the breaks from the Umpire.

And it suddenly occurred to me that it is all about where you happen to be standing. Are you over with the Blues (Carlton) or are you standing with the Bombers (Essendon) fans?

It follows on from there to ask if Collingwood really are a team deserving of the hatred of the masses, or if this is just another statement coloured by a particular perspective?

Most of our beliefs and philosophies in life are taught to us by our predecessors. Pete’s father was a strong Carlton supporter and Pete grew up believing that the Blue’s were THE team. In the same way, my son, Aaron, grew up believing that Essendon were the only decent team in the AFL. It would be very hard for either of them to change their allegiance to another team. And, if during a match, Pete saw a Carlton player smack one of the opposing team players in the mouth, it would be easier for him to believe that the Carlton player was unduly provoked, rather than to believe he had actually employed ‘dirty’ tactics.

Of course this phenomenon is not confined to Australian Rules Football, or even to sport in general. It is something that spans almost every aspect of our lives. We see things as we have been conditioned to see them.

Oh, for those who don’t know already, the Grand Final was a draw. That means it will be replayed next Saturday and Collingwood can get to feel the love, and the hate, all over again.


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