Round 14 – Adelaide v Hawthorn: The heart won’t follow where the head must go

So, I told myself at the start of this men’s season I was done with the AFL. Well, not DONE, done. That would be gouging out one’s eyes to spite nothing in particular. I would no longer invest, financially or emotionally. No more Adelaide Oval trips, no more Crows merch (not even the Indigenous guernsey), no more footy trips to Melbourne. Delaying coverage of Crows away games was the proverbial breaking straw. Showing replays for no other reason than to blackmail people into buying Foxtel is a fundamental betrayal of the AFL’s responsibility to the fans; the owners of the game.


While the AFL remains a quasi profit making, quasi national enterprise, snuggled up with the gambling industry and Rupert Murdoch, the only power I have over them is to deny access to my wallet. Beyond the occasional fan driven screech it is now the only language they understand. Moderately pointless, granted, but how else does one behave ethically towards unconscionable behaviour? As the old fool in Hamlet said ‘to thine own self be true’. Well, the fool part is covered and, day by day, old is on its way. It carries weight in this case despite its glib Shakespeare quoteness.


The financial bit’s been working fine – the only money the AFL has seen from me since the end of AFLW has been a discounted general admission ticket to Adelaide v Richmond. The SANFL and local footy has seen the rest of pocketed brass. Simple enough.


It does no harm, though, to sit down and watch footy when it is on the free to air, does it? The only cost is to passively expose oneself to the ads and the Channel seven commentary team; one of those much more personally taxing than the other. It requires no investment. But there’s a problem. The heart often won’t go where the head is wont to lead.


I’m sure psychologists, cognitive philosophers or physiologists could talk more eloquently/anatomically correctly about the head/heart dichotomy but can they talk footy? Who knows? Such imaginary boffins likely never leave their oak-lined ivory tower but to occasionally mutter ‘sportsball’ and purchase Eames era furniture.


It is a basic life skill for a civilised human for the head to regularly rule and overrule the heart. It tames the beast and moderates the passions. Conversely, the heart striking back is responsible for many of the atrocities of this world. The most egregious recent example in my own personal bubble is sitting down and still caring about this bloody footy game.


They did a job on us non-Port South Australians born before 1985, the V/AFL. They drip fed us on State of Origin in a time where we could conceivably beat Victoria. Then they did a deal with Port Adelaide that forced us into their competition for spite if no other reason.From then on it seemed patriotic to follow the Crows – even as we watched our own league wilt before us.


So here I am watching the Crows fumble and bumble, heart rate rising on the branded face of the watch/fitness tracker. When did I decide that would be a good idea?


Brain: This doesn’t matter, you don’t care anymore.


Heart: Yes, you bloody well do. Why else would you be shouting at the TV? Just look at your heartrate on that unnecessarily fancy watch. Plus, those Port supporters on Twitter are insufferably everything. Tell ‘em to grow up and get f^*+ed, bloody state traitors.


Brain: There’s a mute option, you know. The ones you follow are fundamentally decent people.


Heart: You’re no fun anymore.


The first half is barely tolerable, the Crows should be further in front but cannot execute. Nothing has been lost, and the second half is likely to overwhelm the visitors. But then it all goes wrong. The Hawks throw another player behind the ball in the second half, freeing up Luke Hodge who was a liability in the first half. The Crows cannot win the ball forward and are not winning it when it hits the deck.


Brain: Get up and go for a walk. It’s not important. You are achieving nothing here.


Heart: But it’s going to turn around. Eddie will do something cool and then you’ll regret not having watched.


Brain: Ok, then, five more minutes.


Nothing changes in the last quarter. Hawthorn remains the better team and the heart rate remains higher than sitting on the couch normally entails. The South Australians (Burgoyne, Burton, Puopolo) have done a job on us yet again as have former temporary South Australians in Henderson and, most importantly, Clarkson.


Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, we can be our own worst enemies.


Our votes: 3. Burgoyne, 2.The heart, 1. Shakespeare

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Enjoyed your philosophical ramble on the vagaries of the footy heart and mind. I have largely detached from my Eagles this year. Scrappy, gutsy middle of the road side. Such is life – as a famous (infamous?) Eagle observed.
    I scream and rant at matches. A habit picked up from my grandparents at West Torrens in the 60’s. The Avenging Eagle is largely silent at games. She screams at the TV for away games. I read the newspaper and watch disinterestedly dependent on commentator decibels. I keep telling her “they can’t hear you” – but the emotional release helps. Go figure.
    I would rather watch a good game than my team. As AE observed years ago – she follows the Eagles and I follow footy.

  2. Dave- I hear you on this. But it’s a hard habit to break. With tomorrow’s game only commencing on FTA when it’s over I’ve already made a plan knowing full well that I won’t adhere to a self-imposed social and traditional media blackout. I refuse to be blackmailed into a pay TV subscription so am off to a pub (with a playground) to watch the footy with a mate and our boys. All personal and moral compromises, I know!

  3. Gubby Brown says

    Bad luck Dave. It’s an hereditary condition that you have

  4. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the read and the comments, folks yeah, PB, I think I’m heading in that direction. At least I have the Parade to commit to, mind and heart.

    I’m just trying to ignore tomorrow’s game, Mickey (but will fail).

    So it’s your fault, Gubby?

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ll go tomorrow Dave, but I promise not to enjoy it

  6. Anna Brown says

    I was momentarily annoyed by the delayed telecast yesterday until I realised it would let me screen the outcome before committing to game. If the crows are going to play fast and loose with our hearts because of their inconsistent playing at least the delayed telecast gives us a heads up. See you at the Redlegs!

  7. Yep I was there and it was painful.
    For a lot of things the idea is good but it is poorly executed.
    That is the AFL.
    What about they make a new league and have an even amount of teams in the state.
    Even a couple more for the bigger states.
    1. Adelaide
    2. Melbourne
    3. Perth
    4. Sydney
    5. Brisbane
    6. Canberra
    7. Hobart
    8. Darwin
    9. Mount Gambier
    10. Geelong
    11. Rockingham
    12. Newcastle
    13. Gold Coast
    14. Launceston
    15. Alice Springs
    16. Port Augusta
    17. Ballarat
    18. Bunbury
    19. Broken Hill
    20. Sunshine Coast

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Well played Dave. Love the heart v head dialogue. And the 2 votes awarded to the heart.

  9. John Butler says

    Dave, the way the Crows looked (despite the win) I reckon you will be saving yourself some heartache.

    This question of principal vs the heart is constantly valid as the AFL chooses the particular way it does business. But I have over 30 years invested in Carlton (for better or worse) and I don’t see why some footy bureaucrats should be given the privilege of impinging on that. Besides, you don’t always have to be out of the tent to do some pissing, as long as you don’t mind soggy shoes from time to time.


  10. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments. The Crows did their best to make that almost the case, Swish.

    This is true, Anna. It must cost Ch 7 a lot of viewers, though.

    Interesting idea Aidan. Good luck with that.

    Thanks Luke.

    True, John, although that can be said for supporters of all but one thus far unknown club. No doubt I’d think differently about all this if Norwood was in the AFL. Blessings and curses.

  11. Rick Kane says

    Dave, the Enlightenment has come and gorn, the head (rational being) is not in charge no more. And when it was, for 300 hundred years or so we got our fair share of stupid, self-serving f**knuckles leading us down paths of destruction. (And yes I include the Kennett years in that assessment of demagogues dressed up as freedom fighters and libertarians).

    We are in a post-modern, post-structuralist and post-history period where the meta-narratives, largely organised and maintained by MEN + POWER + MONEY who would have you believe that “basic life skill for a civilised human for the head to regularly rule and overrule the heart” is the truth. What was happening was that model was merely organising a large army of dupes (us) to follow strict hierarchies and be complicit in THEIR hegemonic paradigm. Fuck that. Be who you wanna be. Let your heart be your ruler and your head be its counsel. And if that means you hurt sometimes well so be it. As another philosopher opined, Everybody hurts. And yet another great songwri, I mean philosopher declared: Love hurts. And sometimes when it gets really tough, as it obviously did for you and your Crows mates and this weird obsession you have about SA vs Vic (let it go guys) and put all that weird, confusing McCoys Hatfields hating against Victoria into a way to dissect a game between two footy teams when you really know it was just that one team’s 22 players played better than the other team’s 22 players on that particular day then take solace in an up and coming philosopher’s words. I’m talking about a young country singer Margo Price and her great song from last year, Hurtin on the Bottle. Here it is, to hopefully calm your nerves and provide a relaxant. Note: I’m not endorsing heavy drinkin even though I find it does get me through tough losses – I’m talking to you Cats. And you GCS. And yes, you Saints).

    Finally, in case I haven’t made me point about trusting your heart to be your life guide and rudder, bear in mind Woody Allen’s words, “the heart wants what the heart wants”.

    Good luck for the rest of the 2017 season, I reckon you’ll do okay. And I don’t know how much of that view id head or heart.


  12. Dave Brown says

    I love reading your perspective, Rick. It’s almost uniformly different from my own. Trouble is the head’s right this time.

  13. A great read as always, Browny. Many points I agree with. Thanks.

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