I took my two daughters, aged 14 and 9 to the Richmond v West Coast game last week. It was Sophie’s first AFL game and Lily’s first for quite a few years. We had come down from Wodonga for the day and it was my chance to win the girls over to the yellow and black army. Here are my recollections of how a wonderful day at the footy ended.
As the final siren sounded I looked across to my two daughters. There was Sophie, belting out ‘yellow and black’ at the top of her lungs and next to her, her older sister Lily, in total adoration of Dusty, Cotch, Alex Rance, Jack and the new X-factor…Rioliiiii!!! As we walked past the well lubricated Tiger Army at the Punt Road end, as they chanted the world’s best theme song for perhaps the 20th time, and then out into Yarra Park and the pouring rain, the girls proudly refusing to take off their Tiger membership lanyards and Tiger caps that had been bought only 3 hours earlier in beaming April sunshine, I had them stop at the statue of the great KB. I spoke to them of glorious times past, long times past in fact, well before they were born. I spoke to them of how the mighty stadium would echo to that wonderful song and chorus, almost every time the yellow and black played there. I spoke of how the man they built the statue to, had kicked the most goals ever at the mighty stadium, only to have one other man kick more….a man who carried the hopes of the Tiger Army on his broad shoulders and his #12 jumper for 15 lean years. I spoke about a man who had worn the #4 jumper many, many moons ago who was the very best player in the competition and who singe handedly won finals and grand finals for the yellow and black when their dad was a boy and how the man currently wearing the #4 could well do the same for them. As we walked across a muddy Yarra Park in that eerie darkness of the storm, lit only by the backdrop of the mighty light towers, arm in arm, singing the song, you could have been forgiven wondering: was that the rain on my face or tears of pride and joy?