by Tom Bally
Turning on the TV at the start of the third quarter on Sunday was like coming home to find my girlfriend gone and apartment on fire.
I’d ducked out to satisfy a Sushi craving secure in the knowledge the game was being recorded. The plan of consuming raw fish then reviewing the footage over a few ales appealed. An afternoon of serious analysis as the Swans notched up another comfortable win over The Enemy.
The box flared to life then the blood drained from my face as I caught the score. 76-28 to The Enemy. Can’t be right. Turn the set top box off and back on again. Same figure. Damn machine. $600 worth of electronic black wizardry telling me the wrong info. Channel 7 must have buggered the scoreboard in a typical free to air mangling of the coverage. Off and on again. Dear God it’s still the same.
I stood frozen, beer forgotten, assessing the damage. Sydney must have missed the first siren and simply failed to run out of the rooms. Eight goals against them, one within seconds of the first bounce. Another four in the second quarter. Jude Bolton’s 250th game celebration turning into an absolute nightmare. Malceski’s searching runs into a wasteland of no support. Bruce McAveny gloating about The Enemy’s superiority. Something was terribly amiss here. A dose of last week’s medicine being forced down our throats.
The Enemy could do no wrong. Every damn bounce of the ball was going their way. Their bastard coach must have slipped in a remote control during half time. A camera catches him on the sidelines, bald head sweating, grinning manically. Frantically jerking the control levers every time we get close to the ball, bony fingers deftly steering the rotten pill round the ‘G’ and through the sticks again and again.
Mercifully somewhere in the fourth the batteries must have died. Goodes started taking a bit of control over the situation, out muscling the Enemy’s defence, clawing a few back to minimise the percentage damage. There was no denying though it, was a crushing defeat. A Game That Shall Never Be Mentioned Again Within My Life Time.
The papers and web this morning are full of such terms as shellacking and thumping. No explanations were given for the collapse. It occurred to me that much has been written about player’s superstitions and their supposed effects on game performance but no concentrated studies have been undertaken into the habits of the fans and their outcomes. With horror I suddenly realised on Saturday night in a fit of drunken pride I’d moved my miniature Swans Sherrin to a more prominent place at the centre of the TV table. That a simple feng-shui shift in my living room caused the wheels to come off at the MCG flashes across my mind throughout the day.
The damn thing is buried in a dark corner of the built-in now. With some tough games on the home run let’s hope I’m not filing the Swans chances of a top eight berth alongside it any time soon.