« Home | nemo? » | keith's baptism » | michael bublé | presentation » | malaysia --> media --> photography » | football of various species | teachers' day » | on a lighter (red) note » | forty years ago today... » | miss tan, teacher extraordinaire » | chemical engineering ball » | lazy sunday morning » 

Sunday, September 07, 2003 


I had a full day on Saturday. It began with a trip to Bacchus Marsh, to visit the campsite for next year's Easter Camp. Now, you must be wondering, why did I go when I'm probably not going to be around next year? Well, I suppose I needed a short ride out of the city. Lydia asked me on Friday night, and I hadn't been clamouring to get out of the city. But come to think of it, the timing was perfect - despite the tonne of work I left in Melbourne.

The fresh air was good. Underbank Stud - the place where Easter Camp 2004 will be - is also good.

After that, Being There at Don Bosco. It was different from the last time around. Brother Vena wasn't there; instead there was Brother Brian (or Bryan, never did find out). More glaringly, the children seemed a bit more reluctant to play. There were some familiar faces, and that's a good thing. It means that they're not on the streets getting into mischief. I tried to be approachable. I guess I have to try harder. Well, will be back there in a few weeks, unless I get assigned to the soup kitchen. But hmm... I think continuity is part of the reason for this new format of the Being There (Social Justice) program - that is, going to one place throughout the semester rather than just once a semester.

Shanti was there with me, and we had a few games of pool. (Don Bosco is a youth centre, a safe place for kids to come play and hang out.) We decided to have dinner at Bismi since it was just a tram stop away from Don Bosco. Prata was good. =) Had a nice chat with Shanti too.

*disclaimer: please do not continue reading if you don't want to be bored / inundated with footy talk*

Straight after dinner, I headed on the 19 to Flinders St. Met Brian to take the tram to the MCG. The Collingwood supporters were already in good voice at the tram stop. There was a buzz in the air. There were Brisbane supporters among the Magpie Army but it was mainly a black and white mass. I bought the AFL Record, which I don't usually do. I figured it might be the last AFL match I watch live, so what the heck. It was drizzling a bit before we got into the stadium. Hopefully the weather would hold...

We walked to Gate 6, and I was glad that we were going to be in the sheltered section of the MCG. Section M3... hmmm... it suddenly hit me that we were sitting BEHIND THE GOALPOSTS. First thought that came to my mind: "This seems to have happened before." Second thought: "Won't be able to see the other side of the field." Third thought: "We'll get wet if it starts pouring." Fourth thought: "SHIT... we might be seating among the Brisbane Cheer Squad!!!!" Arrrrggghhhhhhh!!!!

Thankfully, as Brian and I took our seats, it was clear that it wasn't going to rain. The view wasn't all that bad either, and they had erected a temporary large screen on the opposite end where construction is still going on. So, we could still see the action at the other end. Anyway, it wasn't too bad, I could still make out what was happening on the opposite side. Also, I used Brian's binoculars once in a while. But it was best to watch without the binos 'cos you don't see where the players are coming from when the ball is in the air. Most importantly, we were a relatively safe distance from the Brisbane Cheer Squad (and even further from the Collingwood Cheer Squad). Also, we were among a mixed crowd which was mainly Collingwood anyhow. After the match began, I was really happy to know that behind our seats, there was a bunch of die-hard Magpie fans who were every bit as vocal, if not more so, than the Collingwood Cheer Squad. They were in full voice throughout most of the game.

The club songs were sung (Good Old Collingwood Forever!), and so was Advance Australia Fair. Sometimes have to remind myself that it's not my national anthem. Anyway, the game began with a Nathan Buckley goal. =) Brisbane then scored and then got ahead. For a while, I was hoping that recent history did not repeat itself.

It didn't.

Brisbane were playing their usual game of quick and accurate passing, and Collingwood were getting caught out a bit. The Magpies were also slow in getting the ball out of defence and midfield. It really did seem for a while that there'd be another first quarter blowout.

The blowout never came. No eight goal barrage. Collingwood stuck with the Lions for most part and were only a goal down at quarter time. The second quarter silenced the Collingwood faithful a bit. At one point, Brisbane were three goals ahead. I was telling Brian that Collingwood needed to score at least one goal before half time, otherwise it'll be more difficult pyshologically to come back. Time was running out and Collingwood attack didn't seem to be clicking into gear. Still, they scored not one, but two goals. Half time and they were only a goal behind. At that point, I really felt like it would be Collingwood's day. The invisible pendulum had swung in Collingwood's favour. The momentum, the impetus were theirs.

I bought a beer and fries. The Collingwood kids got thrashed by the Lions kids. Thankfully, that wasn't a reflection of the actual game.

The third quarter began. Collingwood was clearly taking hold of the game, without actually going ahead on the scoreboard. It was frustrating. Calls were going against the Magpies, and goals were becoming behinds. At the end of the third quarter, Collingwood were trailing Brisbane by only three points as a result of inaccurate kicking. The atmosphere was getting really tense. The cheer squads were upping their volume, and I was taken with the pandemonium, cheering like never before.

Crunch time. Fourth quarter. That elusive goal just never seemed to come. Instead more behinds. Three to be exact. All three should have been goals that would have put the Pies ahead. Instead, the scores were level. Brisbane pulled ahead by one behind. I was plain to see they were shellshocked. That behind would have been a goal in any other game. I think that's when they knew they weren't going to win.

We cheered - I cheered - for every good Mapgie move, every Magpie mark, every Magpie spoil. I was quite amazed at myself. I'm not this vocal. I guess that's the power of groups. When a mass of people are lumped together with a common cause, amazing things happen. We could feel something great was about to happen, and in some strange way, we were also willing it to happen just by power of lungs and voice. If Collingwood was going to score, it was because we were cheering like there was no tomorrow. At the same time, we were cheering like there was no tomorrow because Collingwood was going to score. It was inevitable.

And then, about 15 minutes into the penultimate quarter, it happened. A running move, and Alan Didak shaped to shoot... the ball sailed between the main uprights. Absolute pandemonium ensued. We all went berserk... ballistic. I jumped up screaming in delight, in defiance of the Lions. I shot my hand in the air, and shouted as loud as I could. I was so pumped that I was delirious. It was dizzying. It was like nothing I've ever felt before. Not even Manchester United's last gasp victory in 1999 at the Nou Camp against Bayern Munich. But I imagine it would have been like this if I was at the Nou Camp that historic night.

C-o-l-l-i-n-g-w-o-o-d! Collingwood! *clap clap clap* Collingwood! *clap clap clap* Collingwood! *clap clap clap* The unofficial cheer squad behind me got even louder, however possible that was. Before we could really settle down, Anthony Rocca took a mark about 25-30 metres from the goalposts with a slight angle. He faced my direction as he prepared to kick the goal. If it flew straight towards me, it would be a goal for sure. C'mon Rocca! He kicked... and the ball flew straight through the posts. It hung in the air, falling into the arms of fans a few rows in front of me. The guy who caught the ball turned around and cheered. We all joined in. I punched the air. Exhilaration. Brisbane were falling apart at last. They were visibly deflated. All they could do was get a few behinds. The Pies then tightened the noose. A goal from a difficult angle. The mad cheering continued all the way 'til the full time horn. Cue the Collingwood song!

I sang with all the gusto I could muster. My voice was already thoroughly hoarse from all the cheering and screaming. I was on a high from the moment Collingwood gained the lead, 'til the time I fell asleep. It was a game worthy of being a Grand Final.

Well, Collingwood will meet either Essendon or Port Adelaide in the Preliminary Final. If they win, then it's the Grand Final against Sydney, Adelaide or Brisbane. Should I leave it as it is? I'm short of cash and of time (have plenty of essays to do), so going to the Preliminary Final might not be a good idea. I began watching live footy with Collingwood beating Brisbane. Should I end it that way too? Hmmm... I guess I'll make that decision when the time comes.

This is not an understatement, last night was one of the most amazing experiences in my life.


This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from acroamatic. Make your own badge here.

Previous Cave Drawings

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates

Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. Third-party content may come under other Creative Commons Licenses or generic Copyright regimes.