Down at Kardinia Park…A Tradition Lives on

The long drive, the old footy music over the West Gate Bridge, entering Geelong, the Ford free parking and finally: The Game begins. That’s what footy is all about…tradition.

When my Grandfather first came to Australia, he was asked to pick an AFL footy team, so he picked Geelong because of the colours – blue and white – for the Greek flag.

When my Dad was born, he had the blue and white blood in him, then and always.

So, here I am, proud as ever to be a true Cats supporter from the day I was born.
Football is my passion and a thing I love to do  every couple of weeks is go down to Geelong.

We do the same thing every time we drive there: Over the West Gate Bridge we listen to old footy music – just Dad and I-  then we arrive into Geelong and begin to get excited.

After that we arrive at Kardinia Park – our second home away from home. Next I get a face paint and finally enter and find our seats to watch the game. The atmosphere is always alive (well, it’s Geelong of course!) and everywhere we turn there is a friendly face and a new friend who you share food with and have fun together for the rest of the year. Reserved seats are so much better, meaning we stay with the same people we know and love for a year or two.
Traditions live on like our traditions.

Traditions like: After the game, we go on the ground and walk to get to the Cats shop. We buy at least one thing and then wait for the players to get their pictures and autographs.

One day, I met Cameron Ling, my favourite player of all time. He had such a bubbly personality and didn’t mind that we wanted pictures, autographs and to have a chat. Every game, even know Ling doesn’t play anymore I wear my number 45 jumper with pride.

My new favourite player is Mitch Duncan, but I think I’ll get a new jumper later on this year.

At the end of the game, we grab our footy and get on the netball courts for a kick until all the traffic has cleared and we can go home. But, before that, we have to stop at Hungry Jacks for some dinner. It is the same every week but we know it never gets old.
My Dad is a really passionate supporter too. If he didn’t teach me to love footy like I do today, I wouldn’t be me.

I first took a really big interest in footy when I was 6 (2007 we won the Premiership that year). Since then, I have gone to more and more games and become more interested and actually have a blast.

In 2009, my family got tickets to the Grand Final because we are members. I was only 8 at the time, but I knew all the players and understood the game. When we won, my Dad took me in his arms and we cried for 5 minutes non-stop.

Then in 2011, we got tickets again to go to the Grand Final and that year, my younger brother James wanted to come along. Front row seats and as the siren blew I laughed with joy and happiness because I knew the year was over and we were in a great position.
Losing games doesn’t really matter that much to me anymore (when I was younger if the Cats lost a game I cried all the way home and didn’t eat dinner or breakfast the next day!).

Now that I really understand it, it seems fun and I want to go on the train and get right into all the spirit and passion.
I don’t live in Geelong, I live in Melbourne but I will always support them through thick and thin, good times and bad times, where ever I go Geelong is my second home.

That’s the fun of it, because of the long drives and late nights and the excitement of everything that I love about footy. One day, I hope my kids will support them like me and go to every game and well, just love footy.

Things in my life have changed as I grow older but I know something that with never change – Saturday Footy, just Dad and Anna.
By Anna Pavlou
Grade 5 – 11 years old

About Anna Pavlou

Anna 'Pav' Pavlou is a current Year 11 student and a born and bred Melburnian who has a passion for sport and sharing people's stories. She is an intern journalist for YourLifeChoices and writes for The Roar, the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA Media) and is a Melbourne Cricket Club contributor. Most winter weekends you'll find her down at the Ross Gregory Oval in St Kilda, supporting Power House FC, who play in Division 2 in the VAFA. She works as the Division 2 writer for the VAFA. She completed work experience with 3AW Radio and has been published in The Age as well as with Carlton FC and Geelong Cats. Check out her website below for more sport pieces!

Comments

  1. Peter Flynn says:

    G’day Anna,

    Really enjoyed reading your piece.

    My Grandpa took me to the footy at Kardinia Park when I was younger.

    He stood at the footy until his early 70’s.

    The blue represents the water of Corio Bay and the white represents the seagulls. I think Geelong used to be called the Seagulls.

    Cheers,

    Peter (Grade 40)

  2. I liked reading this too Anna. You’ve lived through a golden age of the Cats. Long may it continue.

    Dips (Grade 42)

  3. Phantom says:

    “Losing games doesn’t really matter that much to me anymore,when I was younger if the Cats lost a game I cried all the way home and didn’t eat dinner or breakfast the next day!”

    You are lucky not to worry about losing anymore Anna. I am very old and I still cry all the way home and don’t eat my dinner or breakfast the next day.

    Go Cats.

  4. Great story Anna, well done! You write really well and I could feel your passion. I am looking forward to your next piece! Go Cats

    James (Grade 44)

  5. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Terrific story Anna,

    what part of Greece did ‘Papoo’ come from? I know many Greeks who follow North and Geelong because of the colours related to the Greek flag. My dad used to take me to Victoria Park when I was a kid and the black and white usually symbolised equal doses of hope and mourning. Your family would be very proud of you.

    Phil (Same Grade as Dips)

  6. Joacim Aulin says:

    Anna, that was a really great piece to read! I’m from Sweden and I used to play football at Powerhouse with your father back in 1995, when I spend a year in Melbourne on a scholarship. Now I got 3 kids aged 4, 6 & 9 years and I really got moved and inspired by your story and the tradition you and your father holds on to. Unfortunately we don’t have AFL footy over here, but I follow my local soccer team Helsingborgs IF (Premiers 2011) and will from now on bring my kids more often to watch the games! Thank’s for that Anna! :-)

    /Joacim

  7. Anna Pavlou says:

    Thanks everybody for your wonderful comments!
    I hope I will be able to write some more stories very soon!

    My Papou came to Australia from Cyprus in 1951.

    Thanks again guys!
    Anna :)

  8. Nigel Tapp says:

    A wonderful story, Anna and well written. Someone must have a way of getting this to the club as surely they would want to upload it on their site?

  9. That was really great to read, Anna.
    My son, Nathan (who’s also 11), and I read it together.
    You do a lot of the things we do to.
    We also love the kick on the ground after the second siren.
    Keep on cheering loud and enjoying the fun of Kardinia Park!!

  10. John Harms says:

    G’day Anna

    What a wonderful story!

    I love so much about it especially the line that if Dad hadn’t taught you to love footy you wouldn’t be you.

    Our family has its footy traditions, and because we live all around the country we always ring each other to talk about the footy – and other stuff.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. At THe Footy Almanac we will remember these pieces forever.

    Go Cats
    JTH (Grade 88)

    And by the way, we have our own Anna. It’s a beautiful name.

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