An identity for us all

An Identity for Us All

 

Is it time for the AFL to practice the diversity it preaches by having separate stands depending on your identity of choice?

 

The recent fan disengagement and Joffa’s vow to not go to the footy until Gil apologises, got me thinking about the parochial spaces of the past like: The Animal Enclosure at St Kilda, One-Eyed Hill and the Ryder Stand at Vic Park, The Heatley Stand at Carlton, The Richmond Grog Squad at the MCG.

 

 

I believe there should still be places where people are free to be feral with fellow-travellers. As long as they are not bothering others, who cares?

 

Let’s say that fifty percent of the stadium is set aside for families and supporters who want to go to the footy without having to hear others’ sundry vitriol in their vicinity.

 

If you had to choose a place where you would feel like you could be yourself with like-minded others at the footy, what would it be?

 

Here are some suggestions:

 

Hipster Reserve:

 

A veritable myriad of inner city coffee aficionados, and craft beer ‘experts’ who could feel safe comparing the latest types of low-rise or skinny jeans and token glasses while taking Polaroid selfies of during the game. Would mostly be reserved for Hawthorn fans one would assume.

 

Smokers’ Stand:

 

Now this might bring me back to the footy. I love my darts and it would be great for me to indulge in a still legal product in a designated space. During breaks we can compare and exchange brands, complain about how much tax we pay while not having to worry about aged care because we’ll be dead before we hit 70. Sponsored by Philip Morris, of course. We could also tolerate ‘Vapers’, Pipe Smokers and the odd blunt when it becomes legal. Security could put those otherwise ineffectual leaf blowers to good use by blowing the smoke away from the unimmunised.

 

Hairless Hill:

A safe space for the bald community where receding hairlines and nude nuts coexist as they spew vitriol at the hipsters in the adjacent stand. Those who deliberately shave their head will be banned if the spores on their head look too suspicious.

 

Tattooed and Toothless Terrace:

 

Where the T and T’s could feel validated as they complain about how the price of dental care is delaying the next life-story tatt. Pie fans would fill this terrace quite quickly one would imagine. Sponsored by Centrelink.

 

PC Gone Mad ! Pavillion:

 

A place where racists, misogynists, climate deniers, gender skeptics, homophobes and xenophobes can wax lyrical about how Cultural Marxism is killing their privilege. It would do them good to feel like a minority.

 

Over to you Knackers. Pick your poison !

 

 

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About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.

Comments

  1. Danielle Eid says

    How about the AFL apologize by implementing a “barrakers round” to show thanks to the people who bring the atmosphere and more money to the game.
    Bring kicked out for cheering too loud….They better have lots of police on hand the next time the colllllingggggwooood chat starts, only a couple 1000 need to be escorted out.
    I’ve been invited to sit in the cheer squad the past 2 home games it’s literraly a family. I’d be more than happy and feel more than safe to sit these every week.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Most amusing! Perhaps a gap between the hipsters and the baldies for ageing hipsters? Band t-shirts preferred to guernseys and hand-knitted childhood scarves only but still get access to craft beer. Cool clothes but comfortable shoes. Abuse occurs infrequently but vocally before the voice goes midway through the second quarter.

    Slightly more seriously, the SANFL has designated family areas on each ground (although they seem to have gone into abeyance this season) where alcohol and colourful language is not allowed. It’s not a terrible idea. From memory half of the hill at Adelaide Oval is the same.

  3. John Butler says

    Could we have a specific area for Carlton fans. I’m thinking maybe a padded cell arrangement. Perhaps some security guards trained specifically in case we begin to self-harm.

    I know such a space would previously have been reserved for Tiger fans, but they’re now busy trying to be the new Hawthorn.

    Please leave room for the future influx of Essendon fans. Anticipated in the coming 12 months.

  4. Over here in South Oz we need a space for feral Port supporters – some, but not all, seem to delight in advertising their complete ignorance in the rules. Years ago, before they had an AFL team those Mad Port Magpies fans only were challenged by some Centrals supporters.

    During a finals series, in the nineties in a Port v Centrals G F,a small group of Centrals fans were seen dragging dead Magpies on string around. I kid you not. However, all teams have idiots as supporters.

    That being said, unable to go to the footy these days, I really miss the atmosphere and company of fellow fans. Tele footy is good but just not the same.

  5. Pamela Sherpa says

    I’d like to suggest a “We Don’t need Ear Plugs Stand” : no speakers, so that fans can actually communicate with each other( one of the great former enjoyments of going to the footy with friends) instead of having to listen to the ear bursting crap inflicted on us now.

  6. Love the pisstake in this Phil. But the day we can’t coexist in the stands for 3 hours at a footy match is the day I stop going. The apartheid separation of team supporters at many soccer matches around the world is a blight on their societies.
    We must compete with others – not against them. Kudos to Sydney Stack.

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    As a white, eurocentric male, I feel my privilege is being challenged by the AFL these days. How am I supposed to cope with all these changes !? I demand a PWM Stand immediately ! You know, like the MCC was 30 years ago.

  8. Brunswick Street Oval already has Hipster Hill which is well-populated by almond milk latte connisseurs and craft beer-loving chaps with bushy beards, not sure how they circumvent the no alcohol policy of the VAFA

  9. I demand a terrace where supporters of all hues, disaffected by their respective coaches, can howl about how ineffective and useless their coaches are.
    We could call it the Brad Scott Stand.
    But then again, I already have twitter for this function.

  10. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks for your responses, folks.
    Danni – I reckon cheer squads need to have a little more immunity as they add color and character to the game.

    Dave B – Designated areas are not a bad idea with the appropriate warnings. A large percentage is family friendly as it is.

    JB – A couple of your Blues with wigs were ejected last night. Cultural misappropriation ? Perhaps the AFL went to China to learn more about re-education camps for their fans?

    Pamela – Fantastic suggestion. All the speaker noise agitates people anyway.

    PB – We’ve had economic segregation for a while now. Maybe soccer fans are just realists ? At least they have an atmosphere.

    Gerry – No surprise that Brunswick Street is the capital of Hipsterville.

    Smokie – You finally got rid of BS through your sustained Twitter campaign. How many tweets did it take. Brad Scott Stand would get full pretty quickly these days !

    Seriously, is there a new wowserism infecting our game or is it just because there are more cameras and mobile devices that can immediately report bad behaviour that otherwise would have gone unchallenged?

    Everyone has the right to feel safe at the footy, but I do worry that introducing BAO’s (Behavioural Awareness Officers) will add to the paranoia and perhaps even fuel more righteous aggression in some cases. Hope the AFL and it’s lobbyists know what they are doing.

  11. The AFL are flogs. Take all their BAO’s and let them follow Ben Stratton around. There are more assholes on the field than in the stands.

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Some good laughs in this Phil!

    I’m into my second season with Ponsford Stand reserved seats and have never enjoyed going to the footy more. We sit near the cheer squad, not an opposition supporter in sight, surrounded by people who bleed black & white just like us. Very happy to take my two boys there, always feel safe. I’m all for crowd segregation!

  13. Hmmm.

    I could alternate between Hairless Hill, and the Tattooed and Toothless Terrace.

    As i’ve only been to 2 games this century i’m not overly cognisant of the modern day football behaviour. I can recall the 1970’s into the 1980’s where punch ons were not uncommon. People could, and did, bring copious amounts of alcohol into the ground. I have very clear memories of manhandling a full esky into the ground and emptying the contents over time. That behaviour, alcohol consumption wise, ground to a halt when a chap was killed at Princes Park during a Carlton V Fitzroy match in early 1982. From then on the provision of alcohol at the football changed.

    Football in those days was a outdoor, winter sport at suburban grounds. It was played in all sorts of weather, no closed roofs, or reserved seating. As it has changed more into entertainment than sport you’d surmise the crowd, no audience, behaviour would also change.

    I’m intrigued about this current ‘crackdown’ on ‘bad behaviour.’ It would have been good if the racist abuse Adam Goodes endured was cracked down on promptly, but sadly it wasn’t.

    Glen!

  14. Pamela Sherpa says

    It’s ironic that the AFL condones the sale and advertising of alcohol but then feels the need to police crowd behaviour, The violent incidents I’ve witnessed at the footy have coincided with the the excessive consumption of alcohol. This is, of course, a different issue to loud barracking as we know it. It seems that the AFL are unwilling and unable to curb one type of undesirable behaviour, so they’ve chosen another easy target; fair footy barrackers, in order to feel in control and to be seen to be doing something to control us,( an assumed right). The end result is, that another problem has now been created.
    Great article in today’s Age by Joffa. .

  15. I’m with Pamela Sherpa 110% in regard to the amplified noise we are subjected to, in my case at Adelaide Oval. I am sick to death of it. I go with various family members, on some nights covering 4 generations and I used to like being able to talk to these family members during the breaks. Not possible now as the racket from the speakers is unrelenting for every second during which football is not being played.

    I agree too with you Phil that there should be places where complete feral behaviour is allowed, between consenting adults. The problem is the TV cameras which would zoom in on these folk and represent them as being the whole crowd. As for Joffa, could not care if I never saw him again, not interested, just another creation of the TV cameras.

  16. E.regnans says

    Very good P Dimitiriadis.
    I hope you haven’t noticed anyone following you the past few days. Or heard a strange clicking over the phone.
    Best response to the rise of authoritarianism. Take the piss.

  17. Rulebook says

    Superb Phil the article resonated with plenty on a few afl face book pages.Im with Pamela hate the idiotic noise,Bucko is spot on surely the majority of us want to talk to others with in the breaks.Im with,PB also had a good old fashioned day at the footy on Sunday plenty of banter back and forth between,Port and Norwood supporters with no dramas what so ever give me a game with supporters re both sides than a afl game at Ad oval

  18. Pamela sherpa says

    Re ridiculous noise level, we now see young children having to wear ear muffs at the footy because of it!
    I think it’s an insult to inflict such noise pollution on us all.

  19. Phil – it really is absurd isn’t it?

    The footy seems to be a place where the perpetually outraged come face to face with the perpetually discourteous. And neither will budge!

    Games are super-hyped (“This game is SCHUGE!!!. The ramifications for both teams are MASSIVE!!) etc etc. Then the powers that be wonder why people get a bit excited.

    As soon as the AFL pushed off at the top of the big slide some years ago (otherwise known as “The Slippery Slope”” ) they were screwed.

    I want a short persons stand so we can all see the game.

  20. Rabid Dog says

    Thanks, but i can make my own way to the naughty corner.
    A couple of points – completely in agreement witht he constant barrage at Adelaide Oval. Happens at SANFL games too. JUst STFU and let us talk to each other about the previous quarter. And Fisho – the old ‘dead maggie on a stick thing’ now updated to being a Dogs/Port GF. Funny that, usual rrendition of the myth is it was a game at Lizbeff int he 70s, but 10/10 to the updaters. The stories put about BY KG are BS – those ABOUT him are true.

  21. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks for the responses again Knackers.
    PB – It certainly is a flogfest at the moment. AFL ought to stick to flogging their product rather than flogging their already disgruntled fans.

    Cheers Luke – Glad you’ve found a ‘safe space’ at the Ponsford. Joffa got his apology. Let’s see how this plays out now.

    Good points Glen. I’ve been both a victim and a perpetrator of violence at the VFL. Every incident I was involved in or witnessed involved the abuse of alcohol. Something to ponder.

    Pamela – You nailed it . So much hypocrisy. If its family entertainment don’t bombard us with alcohol and gambling ads. Let’s not forget Chemist Warehouse – A pill or a gel for just about every ailment.

    Fair call Bucko – Whether you like Joffa or not, his backstory makes him much more interesting than the sight bites depict. Being a footy fan literally saved his life. He doesn’t tolerate abuse of any kind on his FB site. He’s a good fella.

    ER – Working on some material to send to Hong Kong as we speak. Cheers

    Thanks Book – Maybe I’m a product of a different time. I heard and saw stuff at VFL grounds that makes today’s unsocial behaviour somewhat genteel by comparison. Am I part of the problem ?

    Dips – Yes SCHUGE !!! Every blood game from Rounds 1 to 5 is ‘Season Shaping’ and ‘Season Defining’ up until Round 20. Overkill and hyperbole fueled by every social media effluencer with an agenda to push has turned the GAME into a sideshow. We ought to be celebrating the great footy that the Cats and Pies have played so far this year. Isn’t that what got us hooked in the first place?

    Rabid Dog – If they’re not careful their will be no one left to listen.

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