Round 16 – St Kilda v Richmond: Benevolence beams down on Etihad during the inaugural Maddie’s Match

Round 16 – St Kilda v Richmond: Benevolence beams down on the inaugural Maddie’s Match
by Jennifer Muirden

4:40pm, Sunday 19 July 2015
Etihad Stadium, Docklands

A memorable and emotionally charged day for me from go to woe. It started with an early morning therapeutic walk twice around Albert Park Lake which is where I generally do most of my productive thought processing. As I took in the gorgeous scenery and limbered up I reflected on the significance of the day that lay ahead. I thought about all the loved ones that have passed away at too young an age over the last decade. Uncontrollable tears of joy rolled down my cold cheeks, but I smiled, as I thought about my beautiful late mother and how pleased she would have been that her beloved Geelong had notched up a win the night before. I returned home after my cathartic walk, showered and thoughtfully donned myself in purple attire from top to toe. Then later on, in keeping with the strong sibling connection theme of the day, I briefly visited my younger Richmond supporting brother, Richard (aka ‘Richo’) on the way to the game. I gave him a huge hug, told him how much I loved him and reminded him that the result of the match was not really important in the larger scheme of things. While acknowledging the importance of a Tigers victory in terms of making it into the top four come September, it was agreed that no matter the result Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision would be the real winner. In his presence the symmetry of the situation between Nick and Alex being incompatible donor matches for Maddie in terms of Bone Marrow Transplant was not lost on me. In the moment I reminisced that it was nine years ago, after undergoing six months of vigorous testing, that I was deemed an unsuitable match for a live kidney donation to Richard. This, however, is where the similarity ends as fortunately my story has a good ending. Rick miraculously received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor in 2010 which has served him well over the last four and a half years with no signs of rejection.

I’m not exactly sure if it was the Snowdome Foundation who, along with the prominent faces and voices of both Nick and Jack Riewoldt leading up to the game, handled the public relations and marketing for ‘Maddie’s Match’, but whoever was responsible did an exemplary job. It certainly has had a ‘snowball effect’ and will continue to keep Maddie’s fight well and truly alive. Even before I arrived at the ground I was struck by the sight of the Bourke Street Pedestrian Bridge populated by ‘purple people’ of all ages, nationalities, shapes and sizes. Once inside Etihad Stadium I devoured every minute detail of purple decoration on supporters of both teams. From purple wigs to purple face paint to purple elephants and even mature men wearing purple nail polish, there was much to take in. This special inaugural match evoked a very creative response which warmed my heart and made me smile. In fact, although there were many tears shed throughout the day, smiling was definitely the order of the day. The last time I experienced such an overwhelming sense of community and common purpose amongst such a huge crowd like this was back in 2002 when I saw the Dalai Llama at Rod Laver Arena.

Once at my reserved seat I greeted my older brother with a hearty hug thereby completing the important sibling connection ritual with both my brothers. Before the game started a very moving video appeared up on the big screen featuring the Riewoldt cousins talking about Maddie’s struggle with Aplastic anemia and their commitment to realising her dream of raising funds for research into Bone Marrow Failure. As if that wasn’t enough to bring tears to my eyes, I was gone when Nick and Jack embraced one another for the traditional coin toss.

In the first three-quarters of the game my brother, Scot and I struggled to talk about our stars because the Saints were truly outshone by Damian Hardwick’s ‘Big Boys of the Month’. Right now they seem to be truly at the peak of their power with the likes of Jack Riewoldt at age 26, Mohawk mulleted Dusty Martin at age 24 and Ben Lennon at the ripe age of 20.
I have no idea what occurred at three-quarter time, but St Kilda came back on the ground for the final term and displayed a genuine fighting effort kicking seven unanswered goals. Sadly it was too late and Richmond ended up getting across the line by 16 points. Brett Deledio starred for the Tigers with three goals and 28 disposals and was rightfully awarded the Ian Stewart Medal for his best-on-ground performance.

I totally missed getting my usual radio fix of ‘Finey’s Final Siren’ on SEN because by the time I got home I needed to switch off and unwind, but then found myself totally absorbed by a documentary on television based on Motor Neurone Disease sufferer, Stephen Hawking followed by the film “The Truman Show” about media manipulation. Both of these programs deeply resonated with me. In the first instance in terms of notions of humanity and in the second instance highlighting for me that while we have definitely become a media controlled world over the years, the promotion of the #Fight Like Maddie match via the media has been extremely powerful and effective in achieving the goals and objectives of Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision.

My heart truly goes out to our much-loved St Kilda skipper, Nick Riewoldt who has understandably been doing it tough. When thinking about what I would say to him about finding solace and about the challenges that lie ahead in terms of Maddie’s vision, two powerful quotes come to mind. The first one by Dr Seuss “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” certainly helped me with the grieving process when I lost my Mum back in 2006 by focussing on the good times and the happy times we shared. The second quote is from James Dean who commented, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” I think this speaks volumes. 

Several days after attending Maddie’s match, given my penchant for rewriting song lyrics, I penned the following tribute song to accompany the special edition of my artwork titled ‘Roo Boy’:

 

“Roo, Saints Fans Will Stand By You’
Sung to the tune of “Stand By You” by Marlisa Punzalan 

The pain in your eyes will never disguise
The spark that lived there before
And we know you’re hurting so much more
Than you’re showing

Maddie’s loss of life has brought you to tears
But we’ll catch every drop
We’ll definitely never stop
‘Cause you’re worth it, you’re worth it

You saw her fight for every breath
And the waves were overhead
Now Maddie’s been laid to rest
Fans will stand by you

When all of your life seems shattered
And your world seems left in tatters
When you’re lost, we’re lost together
We’ll stand by, we will stand by you

If black is your brightest colour
If hurt is your only lover
When you fight, we fight together
We’ll stand by, we will stand by you

We will stand by you [x3]

The war in your head will shoot you down dead
So don’t even try to win
Is it worth it all in the end?
We don’t think so

Try to embrace the lines on your face
The story of who you are
‘Cause we love what we’ve read so far
We mean it, we mean it

You saw her fight for every breath
And the waves were overhead
Now Maddie’s been laid to rest
Fans will stand by you

When all of your life seems shattered
And your world seems left in tatters
When you’re lost, we’re lost together
We’ll stand by, we will stand by you

If black is your brightest colour
If hurt is your only lover
When you fight, we fight together
We’ll stand by, we will stand by you

We will stand by you [x3]

You saw her fight for every breath
And the waves were overhead
Now Maddie’s been laid to rest
Fans will stand by you

When all of your life seems shattered (yeah)
And your world seems left in tatters
When you’re lost, we’re lost together
We’ll stand by, we will stand by you (We will stand by you)

If black is your brightest colour
If hurt is your only lover (only lover)
When you fight, we fight together
We’ll stand by, we will stand by you (We will stand by you)

Fans will stand by you [x7]

A special edition of Jen Muirden's painting: 'Roo Boy' to commemorate the Round 16 'Fight Like Maddie' match -  Jen Muirden, 2015

A special edition of Jen Muirden’s painting: ‘Roo Boy’ to commemorate the Round 16 ‘Fight Like Maddie’ match – Jen Muirden, 2015

ST KILDA      2.5   3.8   4.10   10.13 (73)
RICHMOND   2.3   8.6   13.8   13.11 (89)

GOALS
St Kilda: 
Weller 3, Savage, Riewoldt, Montagna, McCartin, Dunstan, Bruce, Armitage

Richmond: Lennon 3, Deledio 3, Riewoldt 2, Vlastuin, Newman, Maric, Lambert, Grigg

MY BEST
St Kilda 3 – Maverick Weller  2- Jack Steven 1- Shane Savage
Richmond 3- Brett Deledio  2- Ben Lennon  1- Dustin Martin

Umpires: O’Gorman, Findlay, Mollison
Crowd: 45,722
Money raised for Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision: $34,500

 

About Jennifer Muirden

Jennifer Muirden has been a keen St Kilda supporter since 1978 and fondly remembers her childhood Saturdays spent at Linton Street, Moorabbin. In her lifetime she hopes to experience the Saints second Premiership.

Comments

  1. djlitsa says:

    Great article and I love the painting.

  2. JosephTes says:

    Very talented, Jen . I didn’t realise you were so proficient at lyrics, a favourite pastime of mine. Your article was spot on, in so many ways. Thanks for the link.

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