Before the Saints ran out of the gates at Subiaco, I had my hands full. My Mum Elfie fainted on Wednesday morning, meaning that instead of going to the zoo and meeting my sister Denise, we had called an ambulance and had to head into the Alfred Hospital. Mum is OK and she’s undergoing some tests, but a funny thing happened after she collapsed.
I had arrived at my mum’s retirement village, carrying my Saints mug for a refill before we were supposedly heading out. I saw her looking on the notice board at the signage and the footy tipping competition, and when I looked down to put the key in the entrance door, on looking up again she was on the floor instead. She was conscious immediately so we knew it wasn’t too serious, but the paramedics came a few minutes later and saw my cup sitting nearby my mum, who was still lying down. The next few minutes were abuzz with questions and tending mum, and me and another resident rushing to her apartment to grab supplies for a possible overnight stay. Mum was on a wheelchair when I returned, and the driver paramedic Michael had noticed my cup. He was a Sainter too.
By the time I hopped in the front of the ambulance with Michael, Mum in the back had established that John, the paramedic at her side, was a Pies supporter. In one of the most surreal drives of my life, Michael and I and Mum and John, were talking footy while on by-pass from Cabrini and heading to the Alfred instead.
Michael has four kids that he takes to the Dome when he’s not working, and had been there with his family when we played Melbourne and the Gold Coast. We talked about all the young players, how good Riewoldt was, and Jones and Armitage and the new coach Allan Richardson and whether Beau Meister was any good. I told him that I’d watched the replay and Beau had marked as many as he dropped, and at least was a bigger body around while the young-uns grew up. Plus, Rina had a second hand story about what a great guy he was and how sweet he was to a very young supporter, so we’ll give him some room to settle in. In a 20 minute ride, we pretty much analyzed coaching, players, the season and our expectations. It had been a great start to the season. Not such a great year for Mum, but she was chatting with John and generally orientating herself. I felt like I was on my adventure again.
We drove into the Alfred Emergency room, and Mum was wheeled in, and parked in the entrance to the Casualty area. I still had my cup. And the footy conversations continued, two young people waiting for treatment started to talk about their Essendon, and the conversation was joined by a young female paramedic (all paramedics have to wait around with their patients until the staff of casualty admit the person and take over the care). This young lady was a Brisbane Lions supporter, and had backed off her team a little until they improved. Again, the room was full of footy talk and it diverted us all very well from the otherwise sad area full of sick people.
Mum was home by evening and so was I later than that. All has gone OK since then, we are just now working through the issues. But I told the paramedics they would make my almanac article, and now they have. But it also got me thinking what a great leveler footy is. We are all just supporters, even in weird places and circumstances. Seeing another supporter gets the conversations happening and links and new friends are made. When I go to my specialist, he talks about Collingwood and he doesn’t like the coach. If you are into footy, you have an opinion and business can be done around what really engages us in the world.
So by Saturday night, I was happy to be sitting alone in my front room watching the Saints take on West Coast. With no great expectation, I enjoyed three quarters of improved football, plenty of mistakes by all, and a wilting by the Saints in the final quarter. Manic tackling all the way through showed great courage against the other type of giants, and we were in it until the big boys kicked away. With Riewoldt completely stuffed out, they were cooked. But they had me cheering and laughing all the way through, because they are my boys and they had a good crack. It was wonderful to sit and relax and be diverted and think about Michael the paramedic perhaps watching with his family when he got off work. Another Saints supporter that I know out there. Keep ‘em coming.
On top of that, Rina came over Sunday night and watched ¾ of the replay, skipping the last quarter smacking, we again laughed at all the missed goals but cheered for the ones that went truly. I enjoyed it with my friend, while folding paper flowers to help my daughter with her decorations for a uni presentation. Rina and I felt better than poor Carlton and Richmond supporters this morning. So there’s another positive. Red Sox are having a slow start to the season, but the App is keeping me connected and the sports mad life continues.
Monday 7th April 2014