When you’ve seen premierships more often than most people see the dentist (12 in case you’re wondering, and when time travel’s sorted I’m going straight back to September 23, 1961 to complete the set), it can make folk who haven’t been so blessed a tad envious. I get that. But just now it’s starting to feel like the needle’s stuck and we’re in a more miserable groundhog day than Bill Murray.
It was hard enough pulling on the old brown duffel coat and dragging myself to the corner shop on Tuesday morning without the bloke behind the counter saying, “Here’s your change – and chin up, you’ve had a good run.” On the way home the lollypop lady at the zebra crossing joined in, marching out into the middle of the road, blowing her whistle and chiming in with, “Look right, look left, off you go, you’ve had a good run.”
Realising it was shaping to be an even tougher day than anticipated I decided to keep busy. My mate Angus had vowed the night before that he wasn’t leaving the house again until the spring carnival, unless he could be hypnotised into believing it was round five 2013, we were going to the ‘G to see Cyril kick a bag against North, and life was about to be sweeter and a lot more predictable than Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates.
I told Angus to man up (and get someone to pick up Motlop and Duncan while he was at it), and took him for a drive to the exotic pet store. Tom, one of my three new brown and goldfish, has been in fine fettle but Tyrone and Jaeger were feeling poorly all weekend and some expert advice was needed. We got lost on the way there, which did nothing to change Angus’s opinion that this is THE WORST WEEK EVER. When he asked Google maps for directions and that voice came back with, “Turn left at the roundabout, stay well clear of Geelong, and don’t look so sad – you’ve had a good run”, that was the final straw. We turned around and headed home.
We retired to the couch and tried not to think about footy. In normal circumstances we’d have amused ourselves with some sort of retro debate – like who’s your favourite 1978 footy card out of Alle de Wolde and Richard Walter; whether Dermie would be better on telly if he grew back his mullet; or if even Paul Abbott believes he kicked six in the 1988 granny. Looking to avoid all things Sherrin, Angus took out his phone and asked Siri, “What’s the meaning of life?” And Siri replied, “I don’t know – but you’ve had a good run.”
This must be what Clarko meant when he quoted Bruce Springsteen, although Angus (being a glass three-quarters empty sort of guy) pointed out that while we’re getting a little too familiar with the “hard times come” bit, there’s not much sign on the horizon of “hard times go”.
I beg to differ.
This is no time to turn Chicken Little and run around wailing that the sky is falling in, or worse still that no team has started 0-4 and played finals since Dunstall and Langford were holding court in the goalsquares and Peter Knights was coach (bless your spring-heeled golden boots, Knightsy). As I told Angus, there’s plenty to get excited about. You’ve just got to look beyond the scoreboard. And the ladder. And Chocco Williams’ latest column.
Take our Box Hill boys, who just knocked over the reigning premiers on their own patch. Dallas Willsmore kicked one from half a kilometre out to get us over the line, good news for any canny punter (no names please, I embarrass easily) who backed him to become the best Dallas the game has seen (look out Dallas Patterson, 13 games for Footscray, 1965-68 – we’re coming after you). Even the crook goldfish aren’t such a worry – if they all go belly-up, we can always ship in a new crew and call them all Hodgey.
You see, it’s all about perception. If you look at the world through Angus’s dark lens, you’d know that The Boss (Springsteen, not Clarko) had a couple of other songs on his Wrecking Ball album called This Depression and Rocky Ground. Take off the doomsayer goggles, look a bit harder and you’ll also find Land Of Hope And Dreams, We Are Alive and what could be an anthem for testing times, We Take Care Of Our Own.
While we’re getting all Bruce (and Clarko) about things, it’s time to look through the windscreen, not the rear-view mirror. Time to see the next challenge and attack it like a runaway train. Time to get to the `G on Sunday evening, stand together, yell at Sam Mitchell (even if he’s not playing), and have faith that we’ll see another Springsteen title track in action.
Come on up for The Rising, people. And go Hawks.