I thought of you

                                                  I THOUGHT OF YOU

 

Three months after the Grand Final and I’m still trying to absorb the enormity of it all.

 

If you could draw a graph of the emotional roller-coaster between October 1st and now for me as a Bulldog supporter, it would show lots of peaks, occasional dips and in the last couple of weeks, plateaus.

 

The plateau stage still feels good as we watch the Bulldogs training and we look forward to next season with the utmost confidence. It is fair to say that this feeling is a new experience for all Footscray supporters.

 

The days immediately after the Grand Final were obviously the peak times for appreciating and celebrating the Bulldogs’ win. Starting with the players being presented to their adoring fans at the Whitten Oval and with the front and back pages of the newspapers covering every aspect of the glorious win. Then came the phone-calls and texts from friends and relatives as soon as the siren sounded. Many of the calls were from friends who didn’t follow football. But they had politely tolerated me over the years as I slipped  references into our conversations about the plight of the Bulldogs. They just wanted to say, ‘ We were thinking of you.’

 

The other peak time arrived with the publication of The Doggies Almanac and the launch on December 14th. It was an early Christmas present to be asked to submit stories about the gradual rise of the Bulldogs, culminating in winning the Grand Final from seventh place on the ladder. In accordance with the theme of this article, John, Mandy and the Almanac admin team ‘were thinking of me’ after the Bulldogs’ win.

 

Just when the celebrations were starting to ease off and the plateau- phase commenced, Christmas and New Year cards arrived with a reminder of those peak-time celebrations. Friends who still write cards rather send electronic ‘send-all’ messages began their greetings with the same thoughts. ‘ We were thinking of you.’ They were congratulating me on the Bulldog’s win when I had nothing to do with it except to enjoy the result. Not even 62 years of supporter-endurance could get me a place on the rostrum to receive a premiership- medal with the rest of the team.

 

Then there was the reaction from some of the locals in my country town. One person bailed me up in Main Street. Someone whom I worked with a few years ago who barracked for Collingwood and probably pitied me as the only Bulldog in the village. I remembered the huge team photo of the 1990 Magpies hanging in his office that seemed to mock me at a time when the Bulldogs were struggling.

 

But he was generous to me on this day just before Christmas. The first thing he said was, “ I was thinking of you when the Bulldogs won.” So we had a bit of pleasant banter outside the Post Office about how good the Bulldogs were and as an ex-Hampden-League player, he analysed exactly how the Bulldogs managed to create history with their win. He is a big fan of Luke Beveridge.

 

And speaking of Luke Beveridge, my friend floored me when he said he was talking to Luke’s father Jack just a few days previously. I think they were arranging a footy-club reunion at Colleraine further west in Victoria. Of course he had the ideal opportunity to discuss the Grand Final with Jack and his famous coaching-son. I was glad of the extra Bulldog-talk but couldn’t help feeling there was just a tinge of one-upmanship taking place. I was also reminded that Luke’s grandfather played for the Magpies in the 1930’s.

 

There have been lots of reminders of the historic Bulldogs’ win that keep the story going. There’s been just the occasional caller on talk-back radio who has objected to the continued ‘ glorification of the Bulldog’, but most supporters from other teams have given us a fair period of grace. I suspect that good-will will expire in about three-weeks time as the first Footscray team runs on to the Whitten Oval in  AFL Women’s Competition.

 

About Neil Anderson

Enjoys reading and writing about the Western Bulldogs. Instead of wondering if the second premiership will ever happen, he can now bask in the glory of the 2016 win.

Comments

  1. Happy New Year Neil!

    It’s a great story to read and to still have a celebration for the premiership.

    I bet my personal email congratulating on winning the flag was included in your story here.

    Today I am taking an English exam to measure if my English skills are enough good to undertake a diploma course in journalism or professional writing. I want to deserve what I want in the way how Bulldogs won the flag.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  2. Neil Anderson says:

    Happy new year to you Yoshi and thanks for the comment.
    You were one of the first to send your best wishes re the Bulldog’s grand final and you have continued to congratulate the Bulldogs. It sounds like you have used the Bulldog’s achievements as the standard for the Saints to aspire to.
    Also now you are using the Bulldogs perseverance through adversity mantra for success in your personal life.
    Best of luck in 2017.

  3. Citrus Bob says:

    Interesting article Neil
    I reckon I have thought of everyone I know who barracks for Footscray since they won the premiership and wondered what they are doing now. Like one of my dear friends who died just before the finals
    Even an article in the local paper here about Luke B’s mum Rosa last week. His dad Jack and I have been friends for nearly sixty years and I also have a link with Coleraine through the local chemist. Their sign read “Want something? Ask Utber” (circa 1937).
    When is all going to end? Not for a long time I hope. There is so much love for the Scraggers around Australia.

  4. Neil Anderson says:

    Thanks Bob
    Yes, it was those people who contacted me who didn’t follow footy that surprised me. I must have been talking footy at weddings, parties and everywhere over the years trying to get the non-believers interested.
    My best contact was with a neighbour that lived at the end of our street in Footscray during the 1950’s.. She is still a Doggies supporter so I sent her a copy of the Doggies Almanac at Christmas which she really appreciated.
    That’s a great connection with Coleraine ( I’m glad you can spell it correctly ). Such a small town these days. Does Jack/ John still work as a recruiting officer?

  5. jan courtin says:

    I did think of you, Neil, but only after our loss sunk in. Took a while until I could feel for the opposition, mind you!! After our drought-breaking premiership in 2005, and again in 2012, I went through a bit of a low once the euphoria had died down. Suddenly there was nothing.

    Enjoy it whilst it’s still fresh!

    Looking forward to the second round of the year when we meet again at Ethiad.

  6. Neil Anderson says:

    Thanks for thinking of me Jan.
    We certainly have had our share of hype and euphoria. Because it was such a rare occurrence, I have no experience of thinking about the opposition supporters after a grand final loss.
    There has been a bit of a feeling that ‘suddenly there is nothing’ but it hasn’t lasted too long. Looking forward to next season has fixed that problem. Round two against the Swans on one of the many Friday night matches for example, will snap us out of any doldrums.

  7. Neil, I miss the Joad’s jalopy! Don’t know myself without feeling like a muse in a Steinbeck construct. But, of course, just kidding. Lovin being part of a premiership club. Have a red white and blue scarf hanging in my foyer window. Knitted for me by a lady years and years ago and she got the colours just right. 60’s pastels and a blue that looks so fine you’d think Michelangelo had blended its shade. Nothing makes my day more than pulling in the drive and seeing that scarf.

    Glad to hear you’re basking in our glory too and thanks for warm words about our dogs

    PS. If you haven’t done the scarf things yourself, I recommend it. A dogs scarf in the window is a capital improvement these day out west. Adds thousands to a properties value. Just hope the council don’t factor that in on my rates.

  8. Good will has expired already Neil. Go Cats!!

    Seriously though it was a highlight of 2016 but come round one sentimentality goes out the window!

  9. Neil Anderson says:

    Yes, you’re right Dips. I can feel the pressure building from 17 other teams. I saw photos of Danger and three Selwoods emerging from the water at Lorne. They looked like they were ready to eat a Sherrin! Far too fit- looking for this time of year. Premiership captain Ling looked like he was ready to make a comeback as well.
    I did have hopes that JTH would jump the fence to the western-suburbs after he wrote how good the Dogs
    were in the Granny, but he is probably dusting off his blue and white beanie and scarf as we speak.

Leave a Comment

*