Last week I finished reading the novel by Siri Hustvedt :  What I loved.  She is writing about the wayward friend of a son, who is a lost soul.  The narrator, his close family friend and someone there from birth, writes:  “…I knew that his last words gave me hope.  People imagine that hope has degrees, but I think not.  There is hope and there is no hope”.

My pondering of “hope” started last week.  We went to the footy with my uncle Bob, Aunty Betty, cousin Gary, partner Zamir and friend Rina and friend Amanda.  This is my football family, the mob I meet most weeks at home games.  We lost by three points last week to Carlton.  This week, by 30 points to the Hawks.

Last week I did a survey.  I kept asking Blues and Saints supporters:  did they have hope.  I was surprised at how nervous the Blues supporters were, their lack of confidence matched the Sainters.  This week, I didn’t bother asking.

I went with my Mum to the G.  My mum is an 80 year old Holocaust Survivor.  At eight years old, her parents left her and her 15 year old sister in an orphanage in Germany and were smuggled across the border to France, arranged by a brother who lived in Paris.  As luck would have it, a good neighbour made sure they got to the orphanage, and they were on the last Kindertransport out of Germany and survived the war in England.  Unlike many of these stories, her parents, my grandparents, were tailors for the underground in France and moved around and survived, and they were re-united 8 years later. (She wrote a book several years ago:  ‘Elfie Rosenberg:  Serry and Me – Kindertransport and Beyond”).

The others were meeting us because of a family auction.  They were coming separately, my partner Zamir, his son Yariv and his fiancé Anna.  Yariv and Anna are Hawk supporters.  I’ve turned Zamir from disinterested to being a mad St.Kilda supporter. Yariv was quite nervous too, and thought it might be a tight game.  We wish.

We were very excited with the first quarter.  The Saints looked back, in form.  Reiwoldt kicked three straight.  It was a beauty to behold.  Zamir spoke too soon, thought we’d run away with it.  I am much more circumspect.  I proved to be right as we dribbled away another game and were losers once again.

So back to hope.  What are we:  without hope, do we have no hope.  Are we hopeless.  Are we still hoping?   The Macquarie Essential Dictionary (2004) describes it thus:

  1. Expectation of something desired; desire accompanied by expectations. (A win, a premiership)
  2. A particular instance of such expectation or desire: a hope of success (the last two years)
  3. Confidence in a future event; ground for expecting something; there is no hope of his recovery.(No confidence in 2011)
  4. A person or thing that expectations are centred in: the hope of the family (Hope of a club).
  5. To look forward to with desire and more or less confidence: I hope to meet you again. (We won one is 1966, one day we will win another.)
  6. To trust the truth of the matter: I hope that you will be satisfied. (I hope that this year is over quickly.)
  7. To be in a state of hope. (To be a St.Kilda supporter)
  8. To trust and rely (To be any supporter).
  9. Great white hope, a person from whom or a thing from which exceptionally great successes or benefits are expected (The Coach and team of the last two years.)
  10. Hope against hope, to continue to hope, although there are no apparent grounds for such hope.(Life in our world of footy).
  11. Hope for, to have an expectation of (something desired): to hope for forgiveness (to hope for some draft picks.  If we are going to suck this much, at least we should get some more young guns.)
  12. Some hope(an expression of pessimism, resignation or disbelief. (St.Kilda psychology.)

Hopeless has some interesting meanings:

  1. Affording no hope, desperate
  2. Without hope, despairing
  3. Not possible to resolve or solve
  4. Not able to learn, perform, act etc.  Incompetence.

The Footy season continues.  We play poor Melbourne next week.  We’ll probably do better but I won’t put my money on it.  It’s sobering to be this end of the ladder.  How different the world looks from here.  I’ve also picked a third team to watch and support, Richmond, and though they were done like a dinner by the Bulldogs today, I like their spunk and I enjoy watching them, and other teams, playing a better brand of football than my own team is currently producing.  So I transfer some of  my hope onto enjoying the game of  young younger, faster and more hopeful teams.

Yvette Wroby

15th May 2011

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.


  1. Two afterthoughts after a night of dreaming: My mum only comes to a few games a year. She was there with Dad in 1966 so has lived the dream but it’s hard to hold on to such distant happiness in the current footy world. She was disgusted yesterday, but we had a lovely slow walk to and from the game, ate pies and pasties because we got there early, and enjoyed each others company. By the time we meandered to Richmond Station via the Hisense Stadium overpass, the crowds were gone and we got a seat as well as gave a good analysis of what St.Kilda to another supporter who was silly enough to ask me:

    My recommendations to the coach are:

    Play as many newer players as possible. Give them time to stregnthen up and get confidence. I think Sipos has played well, Cripps is good, Armitage is great, give them more time. I want to see more youth.
    Make the older players earn their spots so put them in Sandringham for a spell to get their form and confidence back.
    Change the game plan. Everything has to be about scoring accurately.
    Counselling for all the grand final players of the last two years.
    Let the old fellas retire. Why bring Gardiner back, for what? He’s fantastic but they were bringing him back because of his good performances, especially in all the Grand Finals.

    Ross, my name is in the phone book. I can work behind the scenes on the psychology of the current bunch of sainters.


  2. John Butler says

    Good on you Yvette.

    The thing about footy is that it offers its compensations, even if your team’s struggling.

    Carlton folk became acquainted with this notion in the decade past. It’s ‘character building’, as they say.

    Although sometimes you feel you could do with a little less character.

  3. Peter Flynn says


    R Lyon’s honeymoon phase is coming to an end despite the media’s amazing love for him.

    For mine, he’s sounding like K Rudd prior to getting the tijuana with his continual use of jargon (psychobabble) and ‘we have to work harder’ call to arms.

    He’s burnt out many an assistant coach. Has he done the same to his players?

    Maybe a bonfire and a few beers in the Macedon Ranges is the way to go.

  4. johnharms says

    Yvette, Your words remind me of something I love about footy: that when you look around the stands and terraces there are so many people and so many stories; some we could hardly imagine. Love that you have given us some insight in to your own family history. Hope was no doubt key to your forebears’ survival.

    A writer who has influenced me considerably is Victor Frankel. You have probably read him. Such that when I wrote my book about footy – which is about hope – I mentioned him, having drawn on some of his understandings. I am interested in meaning.

    In the Christian tradition hope has in it an implicit confidence, and the doubt is in people, not in the Deity or the message. I worked in a school the motto of which was spes nostra in Christo est (our hope is in Christ). One of my father’s many strengths was that he had this underlying confidence and hence he was a man who could offer tremendous comfort – even to his own children, when we were feeling world-weary, and that things weren’t working out.

    It interests me that a lot of contributors to this site have a strong social justice background, and are interested in ideas. I think, from their comments, some see footy as the symbolic expression of something more. One of the possibilities for the writer/thinker/contemplator is to find the words which express that.

    Footballers do it by playing footy.

    Perhaps you could weave some of this wonderful family story into your Almanac (book) report next week. I would be honoured to publish it.

  5. Alovesupreme says

    Yvette’s contributions always inspire reflection, and your response, JTH, has added lustre to this post. Anyone who hasn’t read Brian Matthews lovely memoir “A Fine Private Place” would also find some of this sense that football is more than a game. The fact that Matthews is a life-time Saint will of course make it more meaningful to Yvette’s fellow-worshippers.

  6. johnharms says

    ALS, Brian is an Almanacker! And yes that is a lovely memoir. He wouldn’t be too trhilled with his Sainters at the moment.

  7. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Inspiring piece, Yvette.

    If hope had degrees Saints fans would’ve given up years ago.

    “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” Viktor Frankl

    VF can teach us a great deal JTH.

  8. Thanks guys for your lovely words and ideas, I would love to get hold of the book you’ve mentioned and I have read a number of Victor Frankels books. A beautiful writer and thinker. I”d like to get hold of yours as well John. Thanks


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