General Footy Writing: Life is confusing when you’re a Cat at the Cattery and you’re barracking for the Crows

By Bob Utber

I need to speak to Mr John Harms. I think that with his understanding of life  he is the only one who can sort me out.

I went to the president’s lunch at the Cattery last Saturday as a guest of the former mayor of Geelong, Bruce Harwood.  Nothing odd in that, you say.  Well think about this.
I have been an ardent Cats supporter for over 50 years. Even played footy with my socks down just to feel like Peter Pianto — not the done thing in those days.  My blood type is a mixture of blue and white.

The invite came about because (and this is where it does get complicated) the former mayor’s daughter is tracking steady with my grandson, who just happens to play with the Adelaide Crows.  Now I have been following the aforementioned grandson all over Australia and the only state I haven’t seen him play in is New South Wales.  Naturally I have become very familiar with The Professor’s game plan and even barrack for The Pride on these occasions.  The grandson is already a cult hero and a big future is predicted.

Our MC on Saturday, the one and only B. Brownless, had a field day with other members of my family who were present, the former mayor and even President Frank.  B. Brownless is a loveable fellow and would have made an ideal Sancho Panza or a stand-in for any one of the Three Stooges. I see him as Don Quixote’s side-kick though.

As mad Cat supporters we thought it was a bit rough that the 440 people (except 5) were having a laugh at our expense.  We are a hardy stock and, as they say, it went through to the keeper (as long as it wasn’t Brad Haddin).  Billy’s interview with singer Ricky Lee was priceless and I thought Kerry O’Brien might have to make way for a younger man.  Out of his comfort zone of football he was thoughtful and provocative, was B. Brownless.

President Frank is the consummate politician and while I was looking for some controversial statement, it wasn’t about to happen.  A friend at my table (29 by number) said, “Frank says the same thing every time, only changes the names”.  Have always admired the king of fruiterers and when I met him he was the person I expected – one eye white and the other blue. A great leader.

Time for the game and we took our place among the dark-suited Pivotonians and their partners – all wearing Geelong scarves.  No wonder they wear dark suits; they’re the only colours that go with the Cats.  What a start for the Crows, the aforementioned grandson had a chance to boot two majors early in the game but the shock of playing back at Kardinia Park was too much for him. We, three of us, were out of our seats. Hooping and hollering in support of The Boy. Many necks were strained and the looks showed us that we were probably on the last of our nine lives.

The game settled down with the Crows giving the Cats a run for their money, and when the visitors hit the front in the last quarter we even had the former mayor’s wife, Geelong scarf and all, hollering for The Boy. When he went down to a Sellwood jolt the secret five let the assembled dark suited throng have it: “Should be reported, that Sellwood.”

Of course he won’t be.  Too close to the end of the season and the Brownlow Medal.

The grandson came back on the ground and we, the secret five, went wild. My son-in-law said, “I wish for a dream kick”. He had forgotten about the two misses in the first quarter that could have changed the fate of the game. Why is it that it is always the last-quarter heroics or bloopers that we remember?

The Cats got up by two points, Mr Harms, but after 50 years the blood in my veins had turned to yellow, blue and red in one afternoon. Why is it so?

Was it because the grandson was playing with the opposition? Or was it because it felt wonderful being the underdog in a crowd that I embraced on a late September afternoon in 2007?

I am all confused and I will have to speak with my chardonnay- swilling “new friends” this Saturday evening in the West Lakes car park.

About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Bob – that’s simply unforgivable.Get some help immediately.

  2. Bloodstainedangel says

    Ah – sweet justice at last Mr.Utber. Now you might have some sympathy for your guest the mad Swan – the Bloodstainedangel – that you made sit with you in the Ravens players enclosure at Moron Park, for a few very uncomfortable moments during their match against the Bloods recently!

  3. John Kingsmill says

    Welcome to the Bright Side, Mr Utber.
    Great beaches in SA. Why not come on over and live here?
    Plenty of room, nice barmy weather. Bring the whole family!

  4. What a great game that was too, the Crows were the underdog that day and brought out a great Aussie quality we have in our culture. Very good read :)

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