Come On The Mighty Dees!

I remember being driven through Clifton Hill in Melbourne many years ago. I was a little kid, sitting in the back of the Kingswood (or was it the HR?) and had my attention drawn to a sign on the front fence of a house:

“How would you like a freeway on your front doorstep?”

It was near the intersection of Queens Parade and Alexandra Parade and it must have been at the time the Eastern Freeway was being contemplated. That would make it the early 70s I suppose.

What struck me about the sign was that it was painted on a white bed sheet in red paint. I wondered what the person who painted the sign would use for a sheet that night and considered what I might use should I ever need to make a protest sign. I concluded it wouldn’t be my own bed sheet because mine was a multi-striped, multi-coloured flannelette sheet; no good for sign making. And besides, I needed it. No, I would probably use one of my brothers’ bed sheets.

The freeway got built. The protest sign disappeared. I drive up and down that freeway a lot these days – in the driver’s seat. I wonder how the protestors are enjoying the traffic and I also wonder if they realise what an impact their protest had on me. Maybe they moved. Or maybe they’re dead.

The point is that sometimes a little voice of dissent can travel down the decades. The battle might be lost but the spirit lives.

It reminds me of the last line of the movie “Papillon” starring Steve McQueen. As the camera flies over head he looks up and yells,

“I’m still here ya bastards!”

And this is what the Melbourne Football Club has to scream out (metaphorically) for the rest of the season. As one. In a loud voice. Until they are hoarse if necessary. Until their larynx is stripped red. They need to be yelling this with every tackle they lay, with every hip and shoulder delivered. Heads are forbidden to be bowed. They are only victims if they succumb.

They will cop beltings, the media will want to stretch the entrails of every committee member around the MCG, supporters will plunge the tips of umbrellas into the eyes of the players, Mark Neeld might be the first human propelled into space by the use of a foot, and the AFL might insist they  wear their “away” guernsey to bed every night. It will get ugly. It might even get tragic (in a sporting sense).

But they need to hang out the sheet, if not to solve today’s problems, but certainly to show posterity that they gave a shit.

About Damian O'Donnell

OK - which is the odd one out: Love the Cats and flannelette shirts, especially in winter. I get on extremely well with red wine. We just seem to hit it off. Love horse racing in Spring. Used to love cricket. Go to Stawell every Easter and contemplate life around the fire. Love water skiing, especially in summer. Love a great oil painting. Will read most things put in front of me. Thought 'The Sorpranos' was the best TV show ever made - by miles. Run an accounting practice in Melbourne's suburbs.

Comments

  1. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Dips, when John Northey coached them they had a bit of this passion about them. Melbourne fans were loud and they were tough to beat between 1987-91.

    While they had some good years under Balme and Daniher, the inevitability of failure was never far away. Struggling to think of anyone from the Northey era who can shake the place up. What’s Rodney Grinter doing these days?

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