Almanac Life: The Mighty Hawks, late July 2020, a ranty ramble

Please note, this story isn’t interested in facts besides the one fact that cannot be swept under the carpet. That is, the mighty Hawks are far, far from their best.


Bob Dylan may well have sung, in a much more serious song than this ranty ramble, that the ladder of the law has no top and no bottom. Well I’m here to tell you that the AFL ladder apparently does. The Hawks are finding this out the hard way. In fact it feels more like a rickety wooden staircase in the alley behind a cool but not too cool joint and we’ve just been tossed out for having our shirt tucked in. We’ve lost our balance and we’re a tumbling down, riding the bumps and bruises with a grimace as we go.


We stare up at that terrifying ascent, the gradient like a weird arsed graph from a Year 10 Maths text book (you know we didn’t pass) and another Dylan line comes to mind. It’s like we’re looking at a white ladder all covered with water. Hmmm? Seriously Bob, what are you talking about!


‘In Bastards of Young’, by the last great rock band, The Replacements (and I’ll beer-argue anyone on this irrelevant claim) Westerberg gets right to the point. He howls, god what a mess, on the ladder of success, where you take one step and miss the whole first rung. He goes on, dreams unfulfilled … but enough about that downbeat dime store philosopher.


Maybe The Hold Steady should be my compass. Their song ‘Constructive Summer’ is about goals – and being in the southern hemisphere we can substitute Summer for Winter. That fits. Now we’re getting somewhere. How does the song go? We’ll put it back together raise up a giant ladder … whoa, steady up champ. A giant ladder? I don’t think so.


I prefer His Bobnesses encouragement. May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung. Yeah, the stars is where we wanna head. This is our dream, even our destiny. Maybe we can skip a rung or two. What’s that Bob? No. You must climb on every rung. But that’ll take forever.


I so wanna accept Dylan’s guidance. What if I entwine it with Bruce (drawing deep from Pete Seeger’s well) and the song, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’? We might just land on a little ray of sunshine for us Hawkers to reach for. I must stress that I don’t really dig the ‘I believe in the hope and I pray that someday it may raise me’ vibe. Someday? Can you be a little more specific!


In ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ we are met with a similar wishy washy wah-wah, whaaattt? Early in that song there is a line: ‘every rung goes higher and higher’. No shit Sherlock. Hang on though. Something does resonate with the next declaration: ‘Every new rung just makes us stronger’. Okay, now I’m feeling it. Hey Dylan, maybe you could have given us a reason for climbing every rung. Onya Bruce.


Thinking back to The Replacements, maybe it’s our starry eyed idea of success rather than the ladder that’s the problem. Back to Bob. Let him kick my mind’s door open. He reckons there’s no success like failure. Okay, food for thought. What? There’s more? And that failure’s no success at all. Holy bat shit Bob, what the hell does that even mean. I just want to see a team, my team, put on their boots, check their sprigs, show the umpy they aren’t wearing rings or whatnot and get out there and kick the ball long. And win. And, you know, climb that freakin ladder! Whatever it takes.


But what if I put success ahead of my darling and my family? We are after all the family club. And what if I didn’t have the time to love my family since fame and fortune came a knocking. And then you started seeing me differently because of what success has done to me? What if and this is almost unthinkable, success made a failure of our home. God, barracking for a footy team is starting to bum me out man. And Loretta Lynn, stop guilting me, I just want a little taste of the success we Hawkers have grown accustomed to. Just a wee nip. You know, getting to eleventh, tenth, and then, who knows, we lift the trapdoor and sneak right into the eight.


Just like that, as if an epiphany made of rock and roll hit me between the cymbals, I got struck by an idea. What if success is found in love? What if when a team starts to lose we start to fall ever so slightly, out of love with them? And then we start the blame game. And then it all starts to fall down around us. Hmmm, I wonder? Nah, footy supporters would never be so fickle.


We gunna have to fall back in love with playing, winning, success and glory. One rung at a time. We’re gunna have to go right back to where it all began. The 1950s. We need a ladder of love. Cue, The Flamingos. ‘One of the finest and most influential vocal group in history’. That is our ascent. Vocal groups epitomise harmonisation, communication and a collective spirit. The Flamingos are birds. The Hawks are birds. We’ve got this!


Some want a little and some a lot
Some are happy with what they’ve got
But we want each other side by side
As we climb the ladder of love


(Psst, I may have fiddled with these lyrics, but only to fit my point)



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About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. Its funny Trucker, but in these strange times I’ve gravitated back towards Dylan. Played more Dylan recently than I have in the previous decade.

    When my team is travelling badly the game is definitely worse. When they win a few I suddenly believe (foolishly) that I did pass that stupid year 10 Physics exam after all. Didn’t I?

    Neil Young – Maybe the star of Bethlehem wasn’t a star at all?

  2. Love it, Rick! I wouldn’t worry too much, it’s 2020 after all, and nothing is very real.
    Cheer, cheer – if that helps!

  3. It’s not so bad down here at the bottom of the ladder Rick. Us flightless Crows are looking up at you Hawks who are positively soaring by comparison. As Bob sings in “Black Crow Blues”-

    Black crows in the meadow
    Sleeping across a broad highway
    Black crows in the meadow
    Across a broad highway
    Though it’s funny, honey
    I’m out of touch, don’t feel much
    Like a scarecrow today.

    Thanks Rick. always great to read your words here.

  4. An interesting and thoughtful read, Trucker. Thanks.

    Huey Lewis and The News had a song called “Jacob’s Ladder” which I really liked back in the day (written by Bruce Hornsby, I think). It had a line it which went “All I want from tomorrow is to get it better than today”.

  5. Rick Kane says

    Thanks folks, what a year huh!

    Dips, Bob and a few others are never far from being played by me. This year has been a weird old one in music terms for me. I started the year hell bent on diving deep into the history of Soul music. Then COVID hit and I resolved to go back and play Dylan from first album onwards. Then John Prine died and I got lost in the moment (not of his passing but the existential moment we are in). I have recently started listening to two different podcasts (500 Songs, the history of rocknroll, and Cocaine and Rhinestones, a potted history of country music) which is seeing me through. They are outstanding. Footy, and not because of the Hawks lot, is a bit so what.
    Love Star of Bethlehem, with Emmylou in duet

    Thanks Jan and I agree!

    MR, nice call. Great song. His interests, influences and capacity to love and steal in the same instance hasn’t really changed over 50 plus years. And his sly sense of humour.

    Yes Smokie, great call, and points for referencing the least cool band you could. Although didn’t they back up little Elvis on his first album? That gives you cred your whole career.


  6. DBalassone says

    Great read RK. Weird times…

    And muttered underneath his breath “Nothing is revealed”

  7. Grant Fraser says

    We have sung the song of the Mighty Fightings together when launching more than one Almanac…with JTH cringing in the corner
    We have the Threepeat merch
    We have the oft played DVDs
    We support the most successful team of the last 60 years…and indeed most successful of all time if considering a level playing field post 1925.
    They (and they know who they are) want us thinking ill of the Hawks.
    They want to Dance on our Graves (looking at you Champs)
    But we know the reality – we are destined to rise again, as we do.
    As we #always do.
    So dear Trucker….
    Don’t think twice, it’s alright

  8. Stainless says

    Gee whiz! And there was I just thinking that Hawthorn is (finally) experiencing the natural cycle of football and that Clarko’s halo might just be gold leaf rather than 24 carat!

  9. I don’t think the Almanac is really a football site. It just pretends to be.

    Football is merely the subject drawn from the hat.

    Someone once wrote “Footy is not the most important thing in the world but it alerts me to the things that are.”

    This piece is a classic of the Almanac genre. Footy as an excuse to say what you really want to say.

    Love it.

    Can I please add the verb to beer-argue to my lexicon?

    Thanks Trucker.

  10. Rick Kane says

    Thank you for your comments.

    DB, when this is all through we must have that big Dylan session at a pub or even on our back veranda. In the meantime, “and in another all I seemed to be doing was climb”

    Grant, you are righter than right. To mix your Dylan quote with the mightiest of Hawks, don’t think twice, just do.

    Stainless, trust me, this is our natural cycle!

    Harms, yep, the Almanacery is the community I always wanted to belong to. Please, use away!


  11. Les Everett says

    Very good.

    There was a game at Perth Stadium on Monday night.

    I’ve always liked this Bob Dylan song.

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