Going to the footy

 

 

By Daniel Taranto

 

Sitting on a plastic chair, in a stadium which makes it colder indoors than out (How does Docklands manage to achieve that?), with 35,000 fellow Carlton Blues supporters on a Saturday afternoon is one of the things in life that I love doing. It gives me a sense of community, has taken me on a journey lasting decades and gives a narrative to the winter months which will hopefully burst into full bloom during the spring.

For most of my life I didn’t go to the footy very often. Maybe once or twice a year. However in the late 00s that all changed. My family supports Hawthorn, Melbourne, Essendon and Carlton. I’m not quite sure how this happened? I guess my parents didn’t see supporting a particular footy team as a life or death matter, other parents don’t follow this philosophy.

I started going to the footy with a couple of my mates, Ben and Adrian, and their dad Gavin. Now this bunch of fellows were not like my family, they all barracked for Carlton from birth. Otherwise they all would have been disowned by their families! However I do doubt this would have occurred as Gavin is too nice a guy to disown his kids, but you never know.

The weekly ritual starts with us meeting outside the same gate, about 15 minutes before game time. We always sit in the same part of the grandstand, up high and behind the goals. Not the best, but not the worst seats and you’re guaranteed to be closer to the action than if you sit up in the heavens on the wings of the ground. Maybe one day we’ll get reserved seats, but we have extra friends come along sometimes so they need somewhere to sit too.

Each match brings something different. They can give us hope for the future, they can crush out immediate hopes of success, they make us feel secure that we’re improving or remind us of the dark times. Anything is possible, but we always go there hoping to win and always supporting the Blues. We’re not the kind of supporters who attack our own players.

Half time for each match marks the point at which Gavin opens up his bag full of lunch and treats for us all. The highlight is always the strong, sweet, black, percolator  coffee. The kind that gives you the buzz just by smelling it. Typically the coffee is accompanied by some quality roast beef sandwiches and cinnamon doughnuts. We always thank Anna, Gavin’s wife, for the spread that’s put on. On the occasions that Gavin doesn’t attend, the night games make for a long night, we always miss this little bit of hospitality.

On to the second half and the coffee is making an impact! The brain races along taking in every aspect of the game, when the team isn’t playing that well it can make for a rather uncomfortable feeling of anxiety. When we’re winning though it takes you for an amazing ride!

If we’re winning or losing we have a lengthy discussion about how the game is going. Either way there is always some hope, some player will have revealed a new talent or excelled to a higher level and the team will have taken something away from the match win, lose or draw. Is there nothing more confusing in sporting life than a draw?

I’m grateful that I get to go to the footy with a great bunch of guys and that we get to share in a fun journey that hopefully will end up with some premiership success. Whatever happens we know that we’ll be back next week, in the same seats, cheering on our team.

Comments

  1. Lord Bogan says:

    Well done Daniel. Aside from all the parochialism and the desire for many to be seen as ‘winners’, going to the footy is more about relationships and rituals that are meaningful, regardless of the final result. Nice perspective mate :)

  2. Daniel Taranto says:

    Thanks! I’m all about the journey teams take people on and how people still stay with it through thick and thin.

Leave a Comment

*