Grand final parties

Grand Finals  parties were a once an annual highlight in my humble home when I was living down on the west coast of Victoria.  Everyone was enthusiastic about the day and the rules were simple.  All visitors had to wear footy jumpers, had to bring  at least two large bottles of interstate beer and a couple of meat pies from our favourite local baker “Rotten Ronnie”.   Now the idea of interstate beer was pretty novel back in the late 70s, so everyone had to find a place that sold it,  and that usually meant a trip to Melbourne a week or so earlier to organise supplies.

Watching the Grand Final was a designed challenge in my house.  I had a very old TV set in the corner of a small room that would just accommodate about twenty people shoulder to shoulder. I was trying to re-create a packed outer well known to us in those days. To add to the entertainment, we had the sound turned off the telly  and took the Triple J broadcast of Roy and HG,  famed for This Sporting Life. The day was not for the purist.

It was a pretty noisy,  fun-filled afternoon. Goals were cheered and celebrated, tackles, shirtfronts, and punch ups were loudly discussed from every different angle.

At half time the Chalkies, that’s us, were challenged to a game of footy on the Lorne  oval by the SEC “mob”. There were equal numbers for both sides and the game got under way pretty quickly. I think it lasted about fifteen minutes, we didn’t bother swapping ends, it was non-stop action, high on participation, low on skill, and I can’t remember if anyone kept the scores.

On this particular Grand Final day I had been training for the Big M marathon for the previous six months.  It was to take place the following weekend  and I was a little apprehensive about  about copping an injury so  I became a fringe player (wimp) urging others to get the hard ball. At one stage the ball shot clear of this moving mass and I picked it up and ran a hundred metres to score a try.

As I celebrated the try, the rest of them, from both teams, showed a mixture of disbelief  and puzzlement, wondering what the hell I was up to. Luckily for me, we had been at it for a while so time was up,  end of game.  We had all worked up a pretty good thirst so it was back to our respective parties for the rest of the game.

I  guess the worst part of these Grand Finals was trying to put the house back together and clean up on the Sunday morning , a task that wasn’t helped by my condition.

Oh yes, I did finish the Big M, and I don’t think anyone else has scored a try on the oval.

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