Round 15 – Gold Coast v St Kilda: Checks and balances

Metricon Stadium, Saturday July 2nd, 1.40pm

(Checks and balances: counterbalancing influences by which an organization or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that power in political institutions is not concentrated in the hands of particular individuals or groups.) — Google

Saturday last, I drove Uncle Bob and cousin Gary down to Seaford Saints headquarters. Bob had been invited by the Club to watch the game amongst the faithful, and here we were, early enough for Gary and I to have a kick to kick on the oval next door.

We’d all already voted. Our democratic privilege was complete. We’d had our say. We’d done all we could do to control any outcomes. The rest was no longer our concern.

My kicking has been inconsistent. Today was one of the worst days, hardly getting any power in both my legs. Gary kept patiently instructing, keep your toes up, straighten your legs. But it could have been because I was already tired, and I kick worse when I’m tired. Then a young woman and her friend came out, and her kicks to him were forceful and magnificent. I asked her later if she’s been kicking for a while, and she has all her life. It makes a huge difference, plus being young. The power of her kicking blew me away.

Once inside, the St Kilda Social Club, our official hosts, were handing out sausages and patties (both meat and vegetarian), salads and soft drinks. Bob was ahead in the queue and already had saved us front seats. The food was tasty and we were antsy for the game to begin.

The lights went out, the crowd hushed. A hundred people waited with bated breath to see what the day would bring. None of us expected quite the capitulation that was to confront us. And perhaps the boys were tired, too: Their kicking was the worst I’d seen for a while, and the front-of-goal yips just blew us out of the game.

In the few times we looked likely, the crowd around me were vocal and loud, and then vocal and loud in complaint. Especially the lady sitting directly behind me. Tough to be sitting and listening to angst that the players in no way shared.

Quarter after quarter of horrible football, unless you were a happy Suns supporter with growing confidence that this would be a great day for the orange people. We were assuaged with more food, and raffles and prizes at half time, one competition being for who would kick the first goal. My ticket had the man in defence from the Suns, so I was as unlikely a winner as our Saints.

The game only got worse. It’s the first time I have wanted to leave a game early, impossible as I was the driver. I contemplated going and kicking the ball myself, or sleeping on a bench. Anything but watch the ball be butchered over and over.

All this seemed much worse coming off the back of our win over Geelong, which couldn’t help but raise expectations.

I lingered to watch the netball game at the indoor basketball court next to the toilets. It bought back memories of school, and not really having much clue or skill, but these girls had both, and I watched their good play and their support people scattered around, just staying there to keep me from the torture of more Saints footy.

Finally I returned for the last two quarters and was so eager to escape at the end that I left my beautiful red hat behind (to be picked up at Moorabbin later in the week). I enjoyed the company, I thought the Social Club, who watched on a small TV in the players’ dining area and worked hard for us all day, were brilliant. It is a lovely gesture by the Saints. And a good drive. My only concern was to get home and delete that game from my hard drive and my memory.

Saturday night I watched the Western Bulldogs v Sydney game and it appeased my soul, to see good football and that effort and skill that bought the Doggies victory in a close game. Onya Dogs. Great to see.

And then an election night, going to bed with no result, and living with uncertainty. Which may go on all week. Checks and balances and being out of whack.

The next day, I read via Facebook that one of the Travelling Saints died in his sleep in Gold Coast Saturday night, and it all shifted perspective again. A youngish man, with a few health concerns, is now lost to the Saints and his family and friends. I thought about the shame that this was the last game he witnessed, the last time he’d be sharing the highs and lows with his friends and family, travelling to games, being amongst it all. I know from my travels last year to all games that even after awful games like this, Saints people got together and enjoyed each other’s company, and I hope he did all of that.

Gary and I found our salve in watching Sandringham v Frankston at Trevor Barker Oval, with Sandy winning 16.20 to 9.2. Enjoying seeing Sam Fisher looking good and being part of the coaching with Peta Searle and Paul Hudson; Hugh Goddard in a moon boot and on crutches; several young players, having returned from Queensland, watching team mates and enjoying the afternoon. Eating more hot dogs.

It took a few days before I could focus on our coach’s words – you have to be the best in this competition, otherwise you get whacked in the face … Geelong was good, the contrast was stark … Disappointing, missed opportunities … goals were off, field kicking off, outside footy, off.

Alan Richardson thanked fans who came, and said he was sorry that they’d let them down. He hoped to give them a better game next week.

My personal checks and balances came from my self-adopted grandchildren. Kick to kick with 5-year-old Luke on Monday afternoon through the goalposts at Caulfield Park, and I was much improved. We kept at it for an hour, kicking, handballing and then off to the play equipment. Kicking balls into the hill to see them bouncing back. Having Luke’s smaller ball stuck up on the basketball ring, and using my Nanna skills to throw the bigger one to dislodge it. Babysitting 1-year old Sienna on Tuesday and finally writing again as she sleeps.

We have to all wait for a government, and for the next week of footy, but I am certain that whatever disappointment or joy our football team brings us, we have our own checks and balances to settle us down.

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About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.

Comments

  1. Hi Yvette,

    I’m sad to hear how tough you were at Seaford on Saturday. I should have given you and our boys some energy, even if I had been quite tired at the time I watched the game at the relaxing Oku no ma.

    The young woman who kicked well can be a kicking coach for our boys. They need kicking sessions this week to prepare games.

    We need to be strong and to gain confidence at our home stadium where we will play six more games in 2016.

    I hope our balances have more numbers soon.

    Thanks

    Yoshi

  2. Luke Reynolds says:

    Great piece Yvette. The Saints are very up and down, as young teams tend to be. With your list of fantastic young players and a great coach, you’ve got much to look forward to.
    Love the sense of community that Saints fans, and fans of all clubs, have. Makes going to the footy all the more enjoyable.

  3. Patrick says:

    Nice words Yvette. I’m beginning to get jealous of Paddy’s concussions after these shockers.

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