So here’s my story. I heard FootyAlmanac.com.au being plugged on SEN 1116 and thought “this is for me”. I love my footy and with my great mate Chubba I started a parenting resource, a blog with a sporting flavour, called TackleNappy.com.
I’m a tragic Collingwood supporter. I once stood next to Lee Walker at the urinal in Melbourne’s ‘The Imperial’ pub and I actually thought having Ball, Dick, Cox, Goldsack, Wood and Johnson at the club at the same time was hilarious. I played 93 games off the bench for Bundoora Junior Footy Club – the club famous for producing AFL players Shane Clayton, Paul Rizonico, Cameron Doyle and Jason Croall. I remember playing a game of footy at MacLeod’s mud pit oval – every player but one came off the ground covered in mud – that one player was me. My grandfather was a genuine football great, winning numerous league best and fairest awards in Broken Hill. He played three games for Fitzroy in ’31 before injury tragically cut his career short. My wife kicks the footy better than I do – she actually played in a premiership for Darebin Falcons. The best I could achieve was runner-up in under 12’s.
I was one of the first AFL Junior Squadron members (maybe it was VFL back then) back in the day when Gazza “Loinchop” Lyon hosted the kids AFL Squadron footy show. For the first ten years of my life, maybe more, my family had front row seasons tickets at Victoria Park. We used to park at the church on Hoddle St and walk to the ground, rain, hail, shine or nuclear war…we never missed a home game…never. We’d normally watch the U19’s and the Magoos as well – three games in a day. I remember watching Magpie legends like Wes Follows, Neville Shaw, David Cloke, Ronnie McKeown, Ricky Barham, Peter Bradbury, the great Darren Millane, all dash around Vic Park almost within arms length (OK, Wes and Clokey didn’t quite dash). I have vivid memories of the sound of two big adult bodies crashing against each other or crashing into the fence. We were so close you could smell the sweat and here the banter between players.
I have Pants Millane’s autograph numerous times – treasured possessions. I still can’t work out why David Cloke’s autograph reads as ‘Dood”…Clokey, what the hell were you thinking? I’ve had photos taken with Banksy, Kerro, players I couldn’t even name, from attending countless Magpie family days. I watched the 1990 Grand Final as a 14 year old at home. I remember watching it in my room by myself because I couldn’t stand family and friends talking to me whilst the game was on. My favourite memory is the fearless Gavin Brown returning to the field and approaching Terry Daniher after being concussed. Tony Shaw was one of my favourites…partly due to his unparalleled devotion to the club, but mostly due to the fact that I knew I could kick further than him.
One of my greatest life memories is attending the 2010 Grand Final replay. Just thinking about that day sends a shiver down my spine…COLL – ING – WOOD! One of my worst life memories is the 2003 Grand Final loss to the Bears (YES, the “Bears”). Sitting at the ground I had a row of arseholes sitting behind me singing the Brisbane theme song from quarter time until the end of the match. I’m not sure if I have ever felt so dejected and empty.
Being so passionate, I cop shit for being a Collingwood supporter even from people who’ve never kicked a pill. It shits me to tears. I have a picture of a small boy wearing a Collingwood guernsey crying after a Grand Final loss. It sits on my computer monitor so I see it all day to remind me how precious wins are, and to remind me not to take a single win for granted. Footy’s in my blood, and that blood is nothing but black and white.