AFL Round 7: Thank God it’s a school night

By Andrew Fithall


What happened in the last quarter last night? Monday night football. Ben Cousins says there could be only one thing worse than Monday night football and that would be Tuesday night football. For a parent with children, attending the football on a school night has its advantages. Like not having to watch the last quarter.

Was given a couple of tickets to the game. Happens occasionally. Two seats in the Medallion Club. Balcony front row in the forward pocket Lockett end. It was Bill’s turn to come along. He is the oldest so best able to cope with a late night. Was in contact with a St Kilda supporting friend, Grant, who was going to the game with his daughter. We would sit apart but travel together. My seats came with a carpark so I would drive. Then early Monday Helen rang to say she had been offered another couple of tickets and maybe I could also take Herb and Audrey. But we can’t fit six into my car so had to tell Grant that we would have to travel independently. I didn’t say it at the time, but I did think that it meant that, if necessary, we could leave early.

I don’t usually leave the football early. Once the siren goes, you can shoot up the aisle and mentally block out the opposing team’s theme song and cheering supporters, avoiding eye contact with anyone looking vaguely happy. But you don’t leave early. Except on school nights.

Bill and Herb would sit together in their seats up one end of the ground and Audrey would come with me. Before we separated, we agreed, that in the unlikely situation that the result was foregone at three quarter time, we may take the opportunity to beat the traffic. We would communicate. The first form of communication was a text from Bill. It was in response to the announcement that Paul Medhurst and Leon Davis were out. With no Jack Anthony and no Alan Didak, Bill questioned our source of goals. I had no response. I also didn’t respond to quite a number of text messages I received throughout the evening and continuing into the next morning, from various St Kilda supporters.

It was a horrible night. Bill’s observation about Collingwood’s potential goal kickers was accurate. St Kilda’s pressure was rewarded. Their ability to withstand anything Collingwood applied was similarly rewarded. The quarter time margin could have been worse. The half time margin was more representative of the relative performances. The three quarter time margin was insurmountable. A phone call to Bill at the twenty-five minute mark – we met once the three quarter time siren sounded.

The siren went. We moved. We certainly weren’t the only ones departing. As Audrey and I marched up the stairs I heard the comment, probably from a Collingwood supporter – “It’s a school night”.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.

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