I put the sticker on the car

By Rick Kane

Well, we’ve passed the mid-point of the 2012 AFL season. As a Hawks fan I’m feeling pretty good. I would like to have been at least one more win to the good that’s for sure. And I dearly would have loved to have peeled the Cats monkey from our back but you can’t have everything. Our percentage eases those problems a little. Our percentage is evidence that when we win, we put the opposition away. Our lowest winning margin to date is 22 points against the Pies all the way back in Round 1. Our percentage is also going to stand us in good stead as we head towards the pointy end of the year. So, I put the Hawthorn members’ sticker on the car.

I’m not one for car stickers. As with everything, it’s psychological. Yes, I had a bad experience when I wore a younger man’s clothes. The last time I put one on my car was in the summer of ’79. I can’t remember the joke sticker now but it would have been in this vein: Dinosaurs … they aren’t extinct, they’re just hiding. Yep, funny as. So I plastered that chuckle-a-thon on the back window of my Datsun 180B and the joke didn’t stop paying back until well into the fourth time I read it. It stayed on the back window for another year or so, fading almost but never completely into extinction. I haven’t put another sticker on my car. I have communication sticker issues.

I became a Hawks member following the 2008 Premiership. I’ve barracked for Hawthorn since I was about 8. For a long time I didn’t see that I had to be a member to barrack for a club. (I have membership issues as well. The last time I considered belonging to a club was in the 80s when I thought I should put my efforts where my mouth was and join the ALP. I attended one meeting and that was enough. The local branch meeting was dominated by personalities and cliques and favourites. Policy hardly raised its tethered head.)

I have for as long as I can remember rolled with the Marx’s maxim, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”. Through my youth and its long shadow into middle age that world view kept me company. That was, until I could barely remember why I had such a view in the first place. As much as I can tell, it was due to my choice of reading and popular culture intake. The outsider represented the ideal of authenticity, integrity and honesty. I grew up with that ideal and, as much as I could, tried to emulate it. It has taken me the better part of 50 years to see how porous that ideal is. It might work if you’re the High Plains Drifter or Holden Caulfield or if you’re Pretty Vacant but back here on earth we’re all connected.

Around the time our first was coming into this world I heard the expression, “it takes a village to raise a child”. I am so thankful that I got near the depth of its meaning. I certainly wasn’t planning on inviting the village in. Looking back, I’m glad we did. We are indebted to our village. One of Lyotard’s key conclusions in The Postmodern Condition is that grand narratives cannot be sustained. To sustain ourselves, we must reconnect to petit narratives. Being part of your community is a petit narrative. So I signed up as a Hawks member. And it feels great. It has given a renewed zest to following footy. Then there’s the sticker.

Each year we receive the Hawks membership pack with its array of goodies. There’s the cap and scarf and raincoat and toys for the kids and the stickers. I don’t even take the stickers out of the box. I don’t even think of them, most of the time. Until recently.

Adornments and I don’t mix easily. I’m not sure why. I love how people collect knick-knacks and what they suggest about the person. I marvel at the amount of little things my daughter has collected that lie and sit and hang and flutter all over her room. There is nothing specific that captures her essence but every little object speaks to her character. I think about how she, at 14, has already adorned her life with meaning and I struggle to wear a scarf to say I belong.

And so I broke the shackles of a lifetime and reached into the box to consider a sticker for the car. It is an adornment. A sense of belonging. A small gesture from the heart. A coming out … of the attic, piled high with cluttered meaning that risked smothering the true essence of my character. I put the sticker on the car. It reads, Always Hawthorn. And it feels good (in a very small way) when I pass another car with the sticker. I can now see the sticker has value as a form of communication and communion. I’ve already emailed the club my suggestion for next year: Honk if you’re Hawthorn.


  1. Dennis Gedling says

    I have a Cats one on mine but it’s not doing the attention whore thing like many others and saying I’m a member, just advertises we have a supporters club in WA that exists.

    The only stickers I have issue with are the ‘My Family’ ones. I wasn’t convinced that you could emcompass the term ‘Keeping up with the Jones’ in to a set of stickers on the back of a 2008 Holden Colorado being driven by a trophy wife but here we are.

  2. I have an “I hate bumper stickers” bumper sticker.

  3. Andrew Fithall says


    I don’t have stickers on my car. Helen does on hers, I accidently discovered when washing Helen’s car, that if you applied the high pressure hose onto those free football stickers provided by the Herald Sun at the start of the year, that all the blue from a Geelong sticker gets washed out, leaving a white rectangle. The same thing accidently happened to the replacement sticker.

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    Rick, I love bumper stickers. First thing I do at the start of each season is put the current NMFC sticker on. Get a kick out of seeing other North cars. Always give them a wave. Now proudly sporting a PBS sticker as well.

  5. Rick, I am in the process of designing a retrospective membership bumper sticker for Carlton.

    Carlton 2012: I Wouldn’t Get Your Hopes Up

  6. Rick Kane says

    Thanks for comments.

    Mr Gedling, you are brave and honourable displaying your allegiances to a Victorian club in the wild, wild West.

    Gigs, that’s another sticker that would almost make it to four reads and still chuckling … therefore, it’s a winner!

    AF, you are even braver than Dennis of the West … when you’re out of ear-shot of the lovely Helen

    AS, the Roos need all the signage and marketing and trumpeting and stickers they can muster. Good on you for helping carry the load. Tell me, have you calculated the average driving distance and time between seeing another Roos sticker on a car? In another story on this site someone observed the dying art of hanging your scarf from your car window following a win. I’m definitively going to take that one up.

    Mr Litza, anotheree for 2012 might be: I Guess That’s Why They Call Us the Blues. Having said that, I’m backing your lot tonight. I hope that didn’t lift your hopes more than an mm higher than they were before you started reading this sentence.


  7. Andrew Starkie says

    Rick, maybe it’s because I’m keeping an eye out for them, but I see more North cars than any other club. When I used to drive the ringroad to and from work, I saw fellow Roos everyday. And they weren’t the same cars everyday. As for scarfs, I love seeing them hanging out windows after games. It’s a great footy tradition. Except if the opposition team’s North.

    it’s funny, I’m now seeing PBS cars everywhere I go. Some subconcious thing I suppose.

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