My Black and White Past

When I was younger I played football with Montmorency in what was then called the Diamond Valley Football League. When I was older I played football with Diamond Valley Super Rules Football Club in their Master division (old blokes footy). In both of these teams I was required to wear a Collingwood strip – the horrible black and white jail bird jumper.

It has given me something of an insight into what it is to be a Collingwood supporter and a minute insight into what it is to play for Collingwood. After all, the only thing that separates supporters and players of the various clubs is the jumper. Some also say that Collingwood supporters are different from the rest of us for anthropological reasons. Scientists are currently debating if this is actually true.

I remember running out onto the ground as a fifteen year old wearing the Collingwood strip playing for Montmorency. There is no question that the wearing of that jumper created an “us versus them” mentality. We, the players, all felt it, the coaches felt it (indeed the coaches fed off it), and I know my parents, whilst watching in the crowd, were concerned about it; particularly in cut throat finals where common sense often went out the window and opposition parents were known to throw things (including punches) at Montmorency players.

I vividly remember a half time address from our coach in a second semi final against the bruisers from Heidelberg (they wore Richmond jumpers) where he asked all the players to listen to the crowd outside our dressing room.

“They hate us out there!” he said, “Just listen to them, they hate us.” It was strangely empowering. I must admit I was wondering why they hated us, and then I looked down at the jumper I was wearing. It was simple really.

We were trailing at the time by a few points and playing on Heidelberg’s home ground. They were a very, (how do I put this?) physical side that liked to attack the opposition’s body as hard as they attacked the ball. We sat in the rooms bruised and sore and somewhat dejected until the coach asked us to listen.

As we stepped onto the ground after half time I was certain that we would not be beaten. They hate us do they? Yeah well we’ll show them! We won by about twenty points.

Even the club song referred to the jumper,

“We’re a team we’re a team we’re the best you’ve ever seen,

We are the boys from Magpie land.

We’re a team in the finals,

That’s where we will be,

Leaving other teams behind us amazed at our speed,

Black and white is our pride,

And we’ll battle side by side,

We are the boys from Magpie land.”

About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Dips,
    I’ve recently retired from coaching junior footie with the Belconnen Magpies. It just about killed me to sing the Collingwood song after a victory but I concluded every song with a ‘carn the Blues to soften the pain.

  2. Say it isn’t true Dips.

  3. Dips

    You’ve kept this quiet. :)

  4. There wouln’t be a photograph anywhere would there?

  5. Dips! black and white is COUTURE!!!

  6. Two more sleeps Danni.

  7. 6- ….yeah i know, i know.

  8. Are you sleeping Danni?

  9. #5.

    Coco Pops!

  10. 8- NO… *ANGRY FACE* I Got up at 11:00 this morning to do my history revision!
    bad idea, im not a morning person.

    9- ..i prefer Nutri-grain.

  11. Danni,

    have you seen the ‘Eddie Beer’ that is doing the rounds?

  12. 11- No…

  13. I sensed there was something redeeming about you dips.

  14. # 13

    Tokyo Rose, he is nothing but a Quisling.

    In a moment of madness today I wished Dave Nadel all the best for Saturday so I suppose I must do the same to you.

    I hate having to be nice.

  15. Appreciated Phantom.

  16. its 12:31am so im just going to beat Phantom and say-
    ONE MORE SLEEP!!!!!!!!
    k well night all! ;)

  17. Absolute rubbish Danni, you wont sleep a wink tonight.

    I can hear your knees knocking from over Bass Strait right now.

    Exciting isn’t it.

  18. Sorry I kept this little secret to myself for so long. I knew it would bubble to the top one day.

    Phantom – prepare yourself for a shock. You see there is more to this story than what I have told you……………….here goes:

    I also went down to Collingwood in the early 80s and did a pre-season with their under 19s team and played a few practice matches. Yes I ACTUALLY WORE A REAL COLLINGWOOD JUMPER!!!
    Fortunately for me the coach told me I was too short to play VFL (as it was then) footy and I got the bullet.

    I feel strangely released and free now that you all know this.

  19. Dips,

    what was that line in Ray Stevens song ‘The Streak’?

    He called his wife Ethel a ‘shameless hussey’ for joining in.

    You are nothing but a shameless hussey.

  20. Dips,

    …and yet you hate the ony VFL team that sought to give you an oportunity! That’s gratitude for you.

    Surely you were/are taller than Tony Shaw? Why…you could have held the 1990 AFL Premiership Cup aloft!

    Cheers & Go Pies!


    P.S. As you would understand, the nerves are really jangling now. That horrible “calm” before the storm. You can always deal with the outcome – however painful – it’s the waiting that is almost unbearable!!

  21. Bakes,

    by breakfast tomorrow you won’t be able to swallow.

    Lunch will be a waste of time.

    Evening meal will be either a non event or a non event.

    As Guru Bob would say “Think about that one”.

  22. Phantom,

    Thanks. Thanks a lot…. I am at work – but not working. Simply can’t concentrate. I am not alone.

    Ironically – the first year that I met Dips was in 1981 when the Pies were looking at him – and I had the same horrible wait before the Carlton GF that year too. Dips & his mates (now my mates) would scrawl dubious images onto your ruler or pencil case if you turned your back for a moment. We would talk footy or the IRA or Lou Reed. We still talk footy & music….but not much IRA.

    It’s a small world……my mum went to teachers college with Dips’ Stawell-Gift-winning dad John. Folklore had it that mum fancied John O’Donnell…but that John was simply too quick for her when she chased him around (but I’m told not in the nude…..)

    But back to “that” feeling. The 1981 feeling was merely the fifth such dose in 5 years (including the draw) that the Pie Army had to endure. The Cat era of 1989-1995 was similarly painful for them yet that has now been replaced with premiership success. It does toughen you up to be able to absorb what comes our way. Without fear however, we all stand back up to the plate again for another large dose of pre-game nerves…..bring it on!

    Cheers & Go Pies!


  23. I was beginning to have some empathy with you Pies but then you have to go and bring up the ’89 to ’95 bit. Sadist.

    So what is it to be with you “Transformers” tomorrow.

    Starting off with a ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and then perhaps ‘Just a Perfect Day’.

    I revisited the American Irish band Black 47 just recently. Their song about Bobby Sands really brings another perspective home.

  24. Bakes – I wish I was feeling your nerves – at least you’re there. Live it up. Enjoy the day.

    Phantom – we all have skeletons in the closet. Even the silent jungle walker.

  25. Bakes – forgot about the messages on the rulers. Great stuff. Happy days.

  26. Yes Dips,

    I was the one who farted in the nativity scene play in kindergarten at West Launceston Primary School in 1959 and one of the other shepherds got the blame.

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