So Port has a creed? Who over here in Victoria knew? And why wasn’t I told? Curious, I randomly vox pop 25 people selected at random on the street to ascertain their Creed knowledge and only one, a dishevelled back packer from Glenelg confessed to its knowledge while nervously fidgeting and looking over his shoulder. Poor bastard had lost his Myki card, a long way from home, with no direction known.
Recently in Adelaide, the Port Power knocked over the injury depleted Hawks in their Adelaide oval clash. Non emotionally involved fans will recall the large tarps of Port guernseys that covered entire bays of games telecast from the old Football Park in a naked attempt to deny that no bastard would turn up to watch them. Now the band wagon is full and this game is sold out.
Port this year have made a few promises – 50,000 members which they’ve smashed and to quote Coach Ken Hinkley mantra that they “We Will Turn Up, We Will Never, Ever Give Up [because....we are Port Adelaide] ” which is handy since the fans are finally following suit after years of no-shows. They also invoke the “creed” in an ancient (i.e. pre crinkled potato chips) call to arms members video that goes back to the future to show the teal brick road to September immortality. You’ll be reaching for the chalice and the $5 Dan Murphy Merlot special after this little beauty:
We’re on Top. No one week at a time about it. Why not this year?
What is a creed I hear you ask with almost breathless curiosity? According to Wikipedia a creed is a “statement of the shared beliefs of a religious community. Creeds are not intended to be comprehensive, more a summary of core beliefs. The term “creed” can also refer to a person’s political or social beliefs, or is sometimes used to mean religious affiliation”….and “The word creed is particularly used for a concise statement which is recited as part of a religious service.
For the uninitiated let me break down some of this terminology:
Religious community – playing list and coaches of a specific AFL club
Core Beliefs – Helicopter view of the belief systems required to spiritually and physically execute the religious communities “game plan”
Political or Social beliefs – the AFL Rules – Laws of the Game 2014
Religious affiliation – AFL football as opposed to volleyballer, squash player or croquet devotee.
Religious service – the period between the religious community arriving and departing the arena on game day
Port Adelaide are in very good company. Most of the world’s religious systems, at least those who’ve caused the most damage, have had singular or multiple creeds through time – Judaism (though scholars are split on the issue), Islam, the Baptists, most strands of Christianity – Catholics, Methodists, Protestants in all their incantation and often in the various languages of the colonised. Conversely, the idea of having a creed is alien to Buddhism with it’s emphasis on behaviour more than belief and dogma.
In fact you’re starting to look nuts if you don’t have a creed. To wit - The Quakers, The Church of the Brethren, the Unitarian Universalists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Carlton Football Club. For a closer to home examples of creed free zones see my earlier piece on Ross Lyon’s Nietzsche cult at Fremantle Football Club.
Even the mighty USA decided they needed an “American’s Creed”, decided by the winner of a nation wide patriotic contest who penned a paragraph that concluded triumphantly with “I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”
We’ll never Stop Stop Stop til we’re Top Top Top!
Fricken scarey eh? September not that far away.
The Creed’s origin lies in the writings of early Port playing and coaching legend Fos Williams who returns to Port’s spiritual home “Alberton” in 1962 after a 3 year sabbatical. He returns to the home where multiple premierships have been won through his time in the 1950′s. Moved, he crafts a creed for the club as a motivating life guide for the black and white (as they were in the SANFL before the teal and the top top top stuff of the AFL).
Are you starting to see a pattern here at Port Adelaide? You can now understand why ex Port Adelaide Premiership player and legend, now Hawk Shaun Burgoyne was booed roundly every time he gets the ball in that Hawks game. His departure was over 4 seasons ago. He has stepped out of the shadow of the creed, a lost lamb in an endless paddock of non belief. Past contributions rewritten in the collective memory of betrayal…..of the Creed!
Wrapped in mystique within an almost masonic pledge, the Creed is an “ethos”, a “call to action”, a “statement of faith”, a Borg like “resistance is futile” mind game with the rest of the competition. It address antagonistic notions of faith with a kind of agnostic communist manifesto for football. Trouble is Port has already realigned the re-distribution of premiership wealth in SA with 36 SANFL flags.
We the players and management of the Port Adelaide Football Club accept the heritage which players and administrators have passed down to us; in so doing we do not intend to rest in idleness but shall strive with all our power to further this club’s unexcelled achievements.
To do this we believe there is great merit and noble achievements in winning a premiership.
To be successful, each of us must be active, aggressive and devoted to this cause.
We agree that success is well within our reach and have confidence that each member of both the team and management will suffer personal sacrifices for the common end. Also we know that should we, after striving to our utmost and giving our everything, still not be successful, our efforts will become a further part of this club’s enviable tradition.
Stirring stuff. When Port are admitted into the AFL, however, they attempt to capture the essence of the creed in a song that unkindly feels like Pete Seeger on a battered 6 string at the front of a factory picket that’s been channelled by Bucks Fizz:
We’ve got the Power to win
Power to rule
Come on, Port Adelaide aggression
We are the Power from Port
It’s more than a sport
It’s the true Port Adelaide tradition
We’ll never stop, stop, stop
‘Til we’re top, top, top
There’s history here in the making
We’ve got the Power to win
We’ll never give in
‘Til the flag is ours for the taking
This post was originally published on Mick’s Footy Blog.