Everyday Obits: Gigs remembers Rowdy Adam

 

 

 

 

Rowdy scenes

A couple of weeks ago – on my 58th birthday in fact, Friday March 3 – I attended a Footy Almanac lunch at the North Fitzroy Arms. I used to be a regular at these, rarely missing one, but this was my first in a long time.

I’ve lost count of how many I’ve missed since my last, but I could probably work it out by checking through my text messages with Rowdy. Even though I’d fallen out of the lunch habit, I’d almost invariably get a text from Rowdy in the days leading up to each one, asking if I’d be there.

Somewhat unusually, I didn’t get a text from Rowdy this time around. As things turned out, I ended up being placed at the same table as Rowdy. But while his name tag was there, Rowdy himself was not.

I soon learned that Rowdy was an apology because he’d unexpectedly had to go to hospital. Nothing serious, though, I was assured.

So I decided to send him a text: “Finally got to a lunch and you’ve gone off to have an op! Hope you’re okay.”

I was relieved to get a response from Rowdy before too long. “Boo on all counts. Yeah good now… Just the ticker giving me some more grief.” Rowdy went on: “Hopefully will still make Dogs v Dees on Saturday night.”

That sounded like pretty positive news. I was further reassured a few minutes later to get one more text from Rowdy: “Oh, and happy birthday to ya.”

Thinking I’d be seeing Rowdy at the MCG on that Saturday night a couple of weeks later, I went back to enjoying lunch.

But Rowdy was not at the ’G on Saturday. I didn’t think much of it. Sometimes we meet up at the footy, other times not. It’s always been a very casual arrangement.

Rowdy’s birthday wish to me was the last communication we would have. John Harms called me to say that Rowdy had died of a heart attack.

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I first met Rowdy about a decade ago at – yes – a Footy Almanac lunch. I had known his brother Tim before meeting him, but Rowdy and I quickly developed a stronger connection than I’d had with Tim. Why? Because Tim’s a Hawks fan, but Rowdy’s a Bulldog through and through.

In quick time, Rowdy, born just a few months before me, became a regular part of a group of us Doggies’ fans who prefer to stand when we head to the footy.

One of the great things about standing at the footy is that it allows you to mingle, to swap places, to engage in discussions with different people at different times as the game unfolds. It also allows a new member of the group to get to know the others more quickly, and vice versa.

Rowdy became a regular, joining us more often than not. We all got to know him well, and we also got to learn what a generous man he was. If he had a bunch of spare seats up on Level 2, where the ‘rich’ fans sit, he’d offer them to us. We rarely took up the offer (for the reasons outlined) but my mates all took up Rowdy’s offer of Grand Final tickets when the Dogs made it to the big game in 2016.

As a social club member, I had priority access to Grand Final tickets. The others in the group did not. But Rowdy worked his own peculiar brand of magic and everyone in our group was there to witness the Dogs break a 62-year premiership drought.

That’s just the sort of thing Rowdy would do for his mates.

In 2021 he was at it again. Because of COVID, the Grand Final was played in Perth, and lockdown meant that Melbourne-based folk could not attend. Rowdy had some Doggies mates in Perth without access to a ticket, but Doggies fans who would have had access to an MCG Grand Final were able to pass on that access to a Perth friend if they so chose.

Rowdy asked if I would be willing to allow his Perth mates to use my access code, which I was, of course. That required me to do barely anything at all, but Rowdy was keen to make sure my favour was rewarded.

He did just that last year. A slab of beer was delivered to my house as a ‘thank you’.

Funnily enough, the last four beers of that slab were still sitting in my fridge when I heard the sad news of Rowdy from JTH this afternoon.

So, as I sat down to write this tonight, I cracked one open in Rowdy’s honour.

Here’s to Rowdy, a true Footy Almanacker and a good man, gone too soon.

 

 

Rowdy’s memorial afternoon will be held at Wyclif Cricket Club from 2pm this Friday, March 31. All welcome. Details HERE.

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?

Comments

  1. John Harms says

    You describe Rowdy as the man we all know and appreciate. Many of us have benefited from the generosity you describe. He was a team player.

  2. This is a wonderful tribute to a good man, Gigs. A good Doggies man.

    At a lunch earlier this year, prior to the season, he was expressing dissatisfaction with Bevo.
    Maybe he was on the money?

    RIP Rowdy.

  3. Nice work Gigs. We’ll miss Rowdy. Love to know how he got that nickname? In what context.

    He was always there. And thereabouts.

    Suggest we have a name tag with his name on it at future lunches. I reckon he, too, could have lunched for Australia.

  4. David Bridie says

    Fine words Gigs. Generous to a G was Rowdy. And he was bridge builder, bringing people together. And yes, mingling is the great thing about standing at the football. (and easier access to the bar). Go Dogs Go Dees.

  5. Rick Kane says

    Lovely tribute Gigs, captured the essence of Rowdy. Always had a great laugh with him at Almanac dos. Cheers

  6. Colin Ritchie says

    Terrific tribute Gigs. Rowdy will be sadly missed at future Almanac lunches.

  7. Very sad to hear.

    Thoughts to all who knew him.

  8. Margaret Rowles says

    I didnt know Rowdy but loved your words about him. RIP Rowdy.

  9. Frank Taylor says

    Like Margaret I did not know Rowdy however know a handful of loyal, diehard, absolutely solid Doggie supporters plainly just like him.
    Like Margaret again, loved your piece about the man.
    Thanks

  10. Russel Hansen says

    Great words, look out for each other, and take care of each other, all who knew Rowdy.
    RIP

  11. Sasha Lennon says

    A beautiful tribute Gigs.

  12. Well said Gigs.
    Rowdy will be sorely missed.

    HB.

  13. Oh, that’s sad news Gigs, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. A casual football friendship that speaks to so many, our common thread. Bless you Rowdy. Hope the Doggies win for you both, this weekend and for all the seasons to come. x

  14. Keiran Croker says

    Thanks Gigs. I sat with Rowdy and his brother Tim at quite a few Almanac lunches. He was great company, engaging and interesting. He always had an opinion and was keen to prosecute the logic that had gone in to forming it. I remember having a spirited debate with him at one lunch as to whether the Dogs or Swans had received more AFL financial support. We were both convinced of our own position. I did some research and found some data. I never did get the chance to discuss that with him and continue the discussion. RIP Rowdy!

  15. Well said Andrew. @Dips, the nickname came from Rowdy Roddie Piper the wrestler, although I’m not sure exactly how. Sadly another to die too young of a heart attack.

  16. Peter Zitterschlager says

    Thanks so much for this Gigs. I was shocked to hear about Rowdy passing away last week, but as I hadn’t seen him for over 5 years, I hadn’t experienced a feeling of loss as yet. But your fine tribute has remedied that. Rowdy certainly was a larger than life character and I’ll always fondly recall how he’d turn up to our spot on the standing terrace, whipping up dust and anything that wasn’t nailed down like a micro-tornado … he seemed to have 10 times the energy of the average human! The Dogs have lost one of their most passionate fans. I’ll be drinking a beer in his honour during tonights game.

  17. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Rowdy and I were probably just on nodding terms whenever we crossed paths at an Almanac function. But they were very good nods. RIP Rowdy

  18. Luke Reynolds says

    Wonderful tribute Gigs. Still can’t believe we won’t see Rowdy at another Almanac lunch.

  19. Fine piece in honour of Rowdy Gigs. Confirms the high esteem in which we held him. Gee we’ll miss him won’t we.

    Vale Rowdy

  20. John Butler says

    Well said, Gigs.

    As someone who had a heart attack at a similar age, but got lucky, this news has left me considering luck, chance and all those other imponderables. My only conclusion – to quote Warren Zevon, “enjoy every sandwich”.

    An Almanac lunch without Rowdy will seem strange indeed. All the best to Tim and the Allan clan.

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