Glum? Or not so Glum?

Geelong v Richmond.  Sunday 22 April 2012.

Was this the game?

Following a forgettable pre-season and a shaky start to the season my cup-o-pessimism (tastes like sour grapes, and not from a good vintage) has been brimmed.  The Cats look like they’ve been staggering, not with a premiership hangover, but with premiership gout.  They’ve supped from the cup of glory a trifle excessively and need both a reducing diet and a quiet cat-nap.

Having ‘saved football’ is it time for the warriors to fade gentle into the warm embrace of media commentary and pub ownership?  SBGB (See Ball Get Ball – Selwood) and Bartel (the AFL’s Next Top Model) will maintain the rage and the Next Gen will be all the better for their crazy-brave approach to the pigskin but an unmistakable whiff of sour cream lingers about the kitty litter at this stage.

A coach who couldn’t find words to express his admiration for his team’s ferocity finds himself looking ruefully at turnover stats and stumbles over explanations and expectations.  From a club with a team mentality comes an acknowledgment that too much is being done by too few and POP goes the balloon of stability.  Other teams, having dissected the carcass, know too much about us and either out-perform by playing like us (add salt to gaping wound and taste for acidity) or skip rings around our bronzed statues.

From 7000 kilometres away the gloating begins.  A North supporter, missing – presumed drunk – for many an eon sends an email from a battlefield in Kabul simply to valourise his boys superior skills.  An Essendonian can barely contain his glee at the paucity of the win over the Tigers; so desperate is he to toll the bell for the Cats he fails to mention the Blue-baggers for at least ten minutes.

In the Cats University pre-2007 the undergraduate degree was simple.  Cats Fans 101 taught us to admire the boys, enjoy the game and try not to weep whenever Leigh Colbert’s name was mentioned in dispatches.  You could complete a minor in Ranga’s or a doctorate on the Genius of God.  Life was simple:  simply frustrating on occasion, to be sure; simply horrific at other times (it may have been Josh Hunt who referred to a fear that the players heads would be displayed on stakes along Malop Street following a more than usually disappointing showing in 2006).  But simple.

Nowadays we’re multi-disciplinary post-graduates with double-majors in humility and an (as yet) unpublished thesis on The Role of Hurricane Rooke in Premiership Teams, 2007 – present day.  History and expectations revolve in the tumble-dryer of desire and supporters’ nerves emerge frayed and static.  For the first time in five years I empathise with the Saints fanbase.

But I remember last year.  And the sensation of déjà vu is strong.  From foundations apparently battered by the Magpies in the Preliminary Finals the club built a year of belief and desire.  Although it’s tempting to wallow, Garfield-like, on the bounty of victory, the hint of the feral in Stevie J offers a gleam of hope and a counter-weight to the doubting shades of glum despair.

We did win against the Tiges, didn’t we?


  1. Great read, Beachcrave. Good to know that Hurricane Rooke is looming from the coaching bench.

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