AFL Finals – Week 2: One Moment Please

An old friend of mine used to say that life was a series of elevated moments in time. In the throes of our regular late night philosophical discussions, our tongues lubricated by several glasses of BWS’s finest, he would explain that while he was not a religious person, he replenished his soul by taking joy from the moments in time that seemed to have an elevated spiritual element to them. This might be a child’s first smile, the early morning sun painting the sky in a sea of delicious red, or a random act of kindness from an unexpected source.

Football is not averse to such moments. We as supporters hope for them every week when we trundle through the turnstiles, or switch on the television. We hanker to experience ‘that moment’ when a game changes, when a player takes the next step, or when the team we support reverses their previously flagging fortunes. These moments are found in finals football in particular. We all know the signs – the holding of breath, time slowing, the heartbeat drumming in the ears, the silence before the storm.

As the half time siren sounds on Friday night, Taylor Walker is in such a moment. His team has been completely outclassed in a crucial final for the second week in a row. They have been shut down across the ground, and the few chances they have had in front of goal have been squandered. Taylor himself has missed 2 set shots in the first half, and only minutes beforehand gave away a shameful 50 metre penalty to gift the opposition an almost unassailable lead. The home crowd is murmuring their discontent, and unlike the previous week there is no second chance if they fail tonight. On a tight angle and at a challenging distance, the knock about lad from Broken Hill lines up for goal. Under immense pressure he calmly goes back, settles, and kicks what is undoubtedly the biggest goal of his short career. His celebration says it all, as do the embraces of his teammates. They all know that they had just lived one of ‘those moments’.

In the second half his teammates lift, it is like they have been given permission to breathe again after holding it in for a game and a half. The moment is done, the test passed. Their team mate has released them from their shackles, and now it’s time to get down to the business of winning. Not yet content with his performance, Walker continues to lift his teammates. Back to back goals within 30 seconds of each other drag his side into the lead. Later, when Fremantle’s efforts threaten to tear the game away from Adelaide again, a piece of brilliance on the 50 metre line has Walker turning his defender inside out and delivering the football to an unattended Tippett in the goal square.

Cometh the moment, cometh the man. It’s what Finals football is all about, and don’t we just love it.

About Ben Footner

I'm tragic Crows fan, avid lawn bowler, public librarian and father of 2 little kiddies. Sometimes I also find time amongst all that to squeeze out the occasional article for the Almanac.

Comments

  1. Peter Schumacher says:

    Absolutely!

  2. Yes we do love it. Love the way you captured the moment that we all seem to be chasing in our lives. It’s true often that moment can be found at the Footy thats the reason why half the nation is addicted to the game of Football because it is in those etheral hours when we are at the Footy that nothing else in life seems to matter. It’s the ‘moments’ provided by so many things in life that we all need.

    The game of Football itself is one of those ‘moments’ but it is the action that unfolds that decides the ‘moment’ it will be. People find themselves caught in the ‘moment’ of the game as it seems that at any point ‘the moment of joy’ may occur.

    The game-breaking performance of Taylor Walker proved to be ‘the moment of joy’ for the Adelaide faithful on Friday night.

    For me the ‘moment of joy’ came from the team I despise as much as the next person- The Collingwood Football Club. The courage displayed by each player on Saturday night. The poignant moment touching the banner which read “RIP MATE” gave the whole Football community an insight into how much John McCarthy meant to the players at his first AFL club where he played the majority of his AFL career. The words that read “RIP MATE” universalised the grief that the sudden death of a young man means for communities around all of Australia. John McCarthy a celebrity in this land due to his status as a young AFL player.

    The media coverage ensured that every person in this land were aware that a young AFL player lost his life in Las Vegas in what seemed to be a sudden moment of madness though much of it is still shrouded in mystery. The Australian community was reminded of the fragility of life. Poignancy can be found in the words of Dale Thomas, courtesy of twitter, “Days like today put everything in perspective – rest easy mate , we’ll miss ya! Xxx”. With all due respects to the friends and family of John McCarthy, the death of this young man who still had so much to offer comes as a remainder to all people. A stark remainder that perhaps we needed, reminding me of a cliche reportedly first said by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius “Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last.” As true and relevant thousands of years ago as it is today. Over the years it has been convulted but has held it’s place in every society since Aurelius uttered the words, today it comes to us in the cliche “live every day like it’s your last one.” McCarthy reminded us that we never know when this last day will come. Due to his status McCarthy may serve as a reminder to all of Australia but young men and women lose their lives due to preventable and unpreventable causes every day.

    We never know when our last day may come McCarthy certainly didn’t. Whilst we still have life to enjoy we need to enjoy it to the fullest appreciating every ‘moment’ that comes with it.

    Just as we often find beauty in the most unlikely of places, we can ‘moment’ in everything we do even in the mundane.

    Ben Footner, I enjoy your writing alot. And I just as you occasionally become a drunken part-time philospher. I loved this piece of writing and the wisdom of you and your part-time philsopher mate :)

  3. Ben Footner says:

    Thanks for your comments Bruz. :-)

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Ben you nailed this game and moment , players who lift and deliver in finals must be recognized as the top of the pops eg Dermie , the dominator We eagerly await texs return .
    Bruz great post chatting to a power board member recently he remarked for everything
    Hinkley , Thomas etc has done it was the loss of McCarthy which had galvanized the group

  5. Ben Footner says:

    Thanks for the comment Malcolm, I’d forgot about this one!

    Looks like the big man will be making his return in the SANFL on Friday night, let’s hope he can come back bigger and better than ever and give us a few more of these moments!

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