Life and football: John Harms at Ainslie

Life and football: John Harms at Ainslie

with comments under each point by David Fordyce


In August, John Harms spoke at the Ainslie Football Club about the connections between life and football. John is a very amusing and deep story-teller and a table-full of Canberra Cats went along. Re the connections between life and football John talked around the following points.

  1. Football is a balance of fun and brutality. The brutal part goes back to the Greek word ‘agon’ which was a struggle or contest in athletics.
    Geelong supporters understand this. Mathew Stokes talked recently about how James Kelly is good on understanding that balance. Life is half work/struggle and half fun.
  1. Parallel to this, there is contested ‘inside’ footy and free-flowing ‘outside’ footy. Sides need to balance that inside and outside work.
    Geelong needs to be better on the inside.
  1. The man with the ball makes the play.
    This happens a lot in Australian Football as there are so many options for the man with the ball. John saw as being like life, where we make our own choices.
  1. Football is an example of the group being bigger than the individual.
    Things are best achieved in teams. The individual needs to temper their individual aspirations to the team’s requirements, and they then become a better footballer (and person).
  1. Hope springs eternal.
    Late in the season, St Kilda beat Fremantle, and GWS beat the Bulldogs. In a two-horse race anything can happen.
  1. There are important rituals in going to the football, and traditions in this, whether it be travel to the game, gathering together before the game, catching up with friends and family, what you wear and so on. In Melbourne, many people use the train to Richmond or Jolimont. Geelong books out when the Cats have a home game. Hopefully Gillon McLachlan has a feel for the crowds that go to games.


John talked about how his three kids are all born in Geelong premiership years, Theo in 2007, Anna in 2009 and Evie in 2011. Sadly he didn’t have any kids in 2013. Theo plays Auskick at the Fitzroy Brunswick St Oval, in front of the old grandstand, and taking in all the history of that ground and grandstand. Fitzroy started playing there in 1883 and the grandstand was built in 1888:

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