AFL Round 3 – North Melbourne v Sydney: ‘Appy about a win

Technology is destroying the footy experience.

That’s the prevailing view you’ll get from some quarters.  Video umpiring, GPS, dozens of TV programs and football ‘personalities’ ready to foist their brainless gibberish onto all and sundry.  And let’s not forget the forums, apps and YouTube replays.  Did the advent of the radio raise the ire of last century’s footy fans as much?  Christ mate why would you listen to that thing, you can’t even see what’s going on!

Still these are naturally sceptical reactions to man’s advances when you consider footy is just such a great live experience.  If I had my way I’d attend every match.  But a lack of funds and prior engagements can crush those dreams faster than a Bolton tackle.  There’s just times when TV has to suffice.  The queue for beer is admittedly shorter and my Baboon like antics, screeching and thrashing at every goal and dropped mark, occur with little public scrutiny.

However there’s times when even that live pleasure is denied.

Saturday afternoon was a prime example.  With social formalities to observe I shambled along after the wife and relatives through the tree lined Domain up to the NSW Art Gallery.  The ‘Archibald’ wasn’t really my thing so I sat in the hot autumn sun entertained by a book about Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole and Richard Harris.  But even their heroically drunken exploits in the bars and bedrooms of the world couldn’t stop me obsessing over the game.

What was going on?

So while Ollie downed another bottle and got stuck into his latest conquest I was on edge.  Today’s Enemy had proved they were willing to take on the favourites with gusto and while both their games proved fruitless on the ladder score I was rating them much higher than last year.  By contrast the Swans’ wins to date were far from premiership winning master classes in footy.  I was unsure whether it was clever tactics, expending the minimum of effort, or the signs of something more concerning.

The bloody phone was a time bomb in my pocket.  I refuse to give Optus a cent more than I have to but even the crappy data plan I’ve got couldn’t prevent a quick peek at the score line.

Resist man, resist.  Back to O’Toole and co. lurching from car wrecks to pubs.

The family emerge from the gallery all cultured up and ready for food.  To my dismay we head further away from the city and any chance of ‘accidently’ going into a pub with Fox Sports.  Instead the wife’s addiction to Instagram leads us down to Woolloomooloo Harbour in search of photo fodder.

I’m in sheer agony.

We eat at the Boy Charlton pool.  Chips aren’t too bad but I think I’m going to burst out of my skin.  Has Jetta reignited?  Is Kennedy throwing bodies aside like some latter day Conan?

Lunch finished we walk city bound.  Maybe I can catch the third?

We veer into the Botanical Gardens.  Snaps are taken and compared.  I start feeling like some sulky teenager dragged along for a family visit when I’d rather be skateboarding or mangling the Xbox.

Still I’m resisting the technology.  The recorded game will suffice.  I am a stronger man than that.

A text comes through:  “What a great 3rd quarter.”

Five words that completely demolish any resistance I had to remaining ignorant of the score.  My thumbs can’t work quickly enough.  We’re forty seven points up.  I look back at the other quarters and that little worm on the AFL app.  The Swans, clearly absorbing a number of punches in the first half, had seemed to collectively decide ‘well if that’s all you’ve got’ and set about giving The Enemy an eleven goal battering.

I feel divided.  Great we’re winning but I’ve missed seeing it.  Still the sun seems to shine just that bit brighter.

David Bailey moments exhausted we head home.  I check the score a couple of times on the bus.  The Enemy make a valiant effort to cover the gap but the Swans cap off a great arvo with a thirty nine point victory.

And by Monday night I still haven’t watched the bloody game.


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Tom, Sydney have had North’s measure for some time. That third term must have been pretty amazing.

  2. PeterSchumacher says

    What a tale of self sacrifice! We’ve all done it at some time or other. My favorite for a couple years was for my church’s predilection to have admin meetings on Grand Final afternoons. Then there were swimming carnivals ditto which put me in anything but a carnival mood!

  3. yeah the family are like that, sons rugby and league focussed, wife distainful of the footy disease so you cant even watch the game on the box. I did till half time when the swans were waddling around a bit and went down the paddock. radio in ute beggared so when I came back I was surprised at the way the swans pressed the button in the 3rd. a sign of greatness and capacity. geelong Sydney will be very hard to pick as both teams come back hard.

    tom what is the name of the Ollie read, oh toole, et al book. might pick up a few social skills in the modern age

  4. Tom BallS says

    Nank the book is ‘Hellraisers’ by Robert Sellers. Halfway through its starting to wear out its welcome much like any pisshead does.

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