Is Supporting Your Club all “Black and White”?

Next Saturday’s game is not only dividing Sydneysiders and Melburnians with the “Us Against the World” sentiments, it is also dividing families.

One of my many sisters, Judy, is also a lifelong Swan, but she just happens to really like the Bulldogs, and has for many years. One of her former partners is a Doggies fan. On Saturday against the Giants she was really barracking for the Dogs, not just because she is a Victorian, but she just, well, likes them! We were watching the game together.

Earlier in the week I too wanted the Dogs to win, or perhaps more pertinently, wanted the Giants to lose. However, after our win against the Cats, my main interest in the next Prelim result was simply from a Swans’ perspective. Wins by other teams, for me, are always about how they affect my team. Forget sentiments!

For the first half of the Dogs/Giants game my thoughts were if we play as we’ve done the last two weeks, then I don’t care who we play in the grannie; then I kept oscillating between the two, wondering which might be the “easier” of the two opponents, even though I know there is no such thing. Absolutely no such thing.

Judy, however, had no such thoughts. She just wanted the Doggies to win.

The following morning another sister, Polly, joined us and we all went out for breakfast in St Kilda. Talk was of footy, or, at least, I tried to make it all about footy.

We chatted about the Dogs and what media saturation there would be here in Melbourne, and how the whole of Australia would be behind them. Judy was a little quiet and I sensed maybe a discomfort.

“It’ll be hard” she says

“What do you mean, hard? What will be hard?”

“The fact that they’ll be playing each other”

“What do you mean, you’re a Swannie”

“Well, it’s not that black and white, Jan”

“What on earth do you mean? Of course it’s black and white. Surely there’s no question as to who you want to win?”

“Well, I really do like the Bulldogs….it will be difficult”

“Rubbish” I retort, in my typical “Jan” tone to such a comment!

After much discussion, I asked her a very simple question:
“OK, which would evoke the greater emotion: The Swans winning or the Dogs losing?”

“Impossible to answer”, she says.

“God, if this was a court of law, you wouldn’t get very far. You wouldn’t make a very good lawyer”

This banter continued for a few minutes, me simply refusing to believe her insipid replies and she coming back at me with “It doesn’t always have to be black and white, JAN.”

“Sorry, dear Sister, it does. It’s always black and white with your footy team!”

Then I asked her: “Right, scores are level with 30 minutes on the clock, Swans kick a point, siren goes – are you happy or sad?”

She still wouldn’t answer. Frustrating!!! Then, at one point she said “Well, the Swans have won a couple recently……”

Oh NO, I then KNEW!!

Bloody hell!! I can’t believe we have two traitors in the family!!

And, by the way, she is a lawyer, and a damn good one! And I still love her!

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.


  1. chris bracher says

    Jan – I’m glad that you found the time to broach this topic. I hear your pain, loud and clear.
    We all understand the underdog sentiment…our red and whites had their time as the darlings of the Melbourne media and otherwise unaligned fans in’96 and 05….but in crossing the line your sister can no longer wear the classification of “die-hard’. Banished from that club forever!
    No-one begrudges the Dogs a flag soon…just not against us this year.
    And here’s a history lesson for those from our side feeling a little bit of love for the Bullies…..our Bloods have won just 2 flags since 1933 and have felt the pain of 3 grand final losses in the last 20 years. We are not being greedy.

  2. Thanks Chris

    I have a feeling that she’ll be on our side, no matter what she thinks she thinks! At least I’ll be at the game and won’t have to see or hear any “feeling for” sentiments for her “other” team!

    Go the Bloods
    Cheer cheer

  3. Tony Courtin says

    Jan,Judy’s ambivalence does not surprise me. Well may the infidels (Judy and Marie) fall on their swords! I,like you,will bleed red and white till I leave this rock. Do not ever concern yourself re Sam and Joel’s allegiance to the mighty bloods. Unlike our aforementioned sisters, with Sam and Joel,blood is thicker than water.

  4. Tony Courtin says

    Dear madam Judy, pursuant to reading Jan’s Almanac entry re team allegiances for the GF, I regret to inform that your male sibling has re-evaluated family allegiances,and you,Judith Edwina Courtin, have been wiped from my christmas card list! Any grovelling attempts to rectify your heinous infidel ways will be greeted with disdain. May you and the other family traitor fall heavily,and fatally,on your proverbial swords. Shame on you!! Signed,a true believer. Tony Courtin

  5. Dear Sir,
    With respect to your SMS text of 29 September 2016, it is noted that your re-evaluation of family allegiances, albeit with regard to but one of six female siblings, is all but an empty threat as this one female sibling is yet to receive a single, let alone double or triple, Christmas card or cards from the sender of the said SMS text in all of 63 plus years and therefore forthwith notwithstanding and in furtherance of the aforesaid it must be stated that the said female sibling rejects completely the accusation that the said sibling is a traitor alongside the other family traitor who, wherefore and thereof, has not one element remaining of the birth tie to the swans of Albert Park. And forthwith, and with declarative emphasis, may the proverbial sword of which thou speaketh reject the said female sibling and head for the sender of the said SMS text, aka the true believer, and cause him an upset! Your female sibling. Xx

  6. I told you she was a good lawyer!!

    The eldest sibling

  7. Tony Courtin says

    Dear madam Judy,thank-you for your prompt,yet pathetic, response.Your legal gobblygook falls on said true believer’s deaf ears. You,Judas,and your partner in this evil betrayal,Brutus, not only will be severed from all family connections forthwith,but do not waste time approaching the Pearly Gates on judgement day as your crime is beyond redemption.

  8. Dear Sir,
    May the ever forgiving lord have pity on thou blood stained soul and even bloodier stained curses upon me and thou traitor sister of the feline persuasion. As JC , the keys to the great pearly gates remain safely within my possession. Thou must now beg on judgement day.
    Yours in merriment. JC.

  9. We are a funny family, tonight!

    I’ve obviously opened a can of worms.

    As long as we win, I don’t care what legal rambling pass between the two siblings in question,

    Cheer cheer

  10. Tony Courtin says

    Merriment indeed. The Blood-stained angels shall have the last laugh. In summation,I reiterate,your ascension to face St Peter at your moment of reckoning will be futile as he has no time for wretched souls of your ilk. Besides which,he barracks for the Swans!!

  11. St Peter a Swans barracker? Poor chap – no wonder he came 5th…..

  12. Julie Cattlin says

    OMG!! I thought we were a very close family! I must be wrong!!! And I had no idea there were some members who still believed in the Pearly Gates and St Peter and a life everlasting in heaven!! How disappointed I am!!!
    For you siblings – Jan, Polly, and Tony – I truly want the Swans to win. And Tony’s sons, Joel and Sam. I will be SO happy for you all if you win – or should I say, WHEN you win!
    For me – well, I’m going to the Races! I’m expecting to have a football-free afternoon!! Actually, I will have a look at the results during the afternoon – just for you passionate Bloods supporters.
    Go Swannies!!

  13. polly courtin says

    well well well. as an artist i can create any picture i choose and thus said i will paint all my siblings smiling in front of the Swans Team holding the mighty Golden Cup. go swannies!!!!!

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