Round 2 – Essendon v Gold Coast Suns: Sitting on the fence

 

 

Picking the optimal spot for a kid to watch the footy is never easy. There are multiple schools of thought. Some say sitting up high is best for them to see the whole game unfold below. Others argue the bottom level is better as it fully immerses them in the game and the atmosphere. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer. Like most things in life, different things appeal to different people.

While seat selection is often governed by a shifting formula of opportunity and economics, if I have the choice, I opt for a bit of elevation. Level 2 at either Docklands or the MCG are my gold standard. Close enough to feel the game, but high enough to get a decent view of the whole field.

Up until last Sunday’s game between Gold Coast and Essendon, I’d very rarely sat close to the fence for a game, with or without children. But in the spirit of experimentation, I hopped online pre-game and picked some seats in the third row, nestled in the forward pocket of the Lockett End. We’d be in the thick of it. I was excited.

My son Jesse didn’t share the same level of enthusiasm, requesting some kick-to-kick on the Marvel Stadium concourse in lieu of catching the start of the game. I allowed it, but only just. We ended up missing the first 10 minutes, eventually taking our seats and adapting to the new perspective. It was good. You could hear the players yelling at each other, hear the familiar thud of ball on boot, and hear the body-on-body contact in tackles.

Late in the first quarter, Jesse borrowed the age-old footy refrain by declaring, “we need another goal”. Maybe we were close enough to the game for the prayer to be heard because, not long after, Dylan Shiel burst through a pack just metres in front of us and threaded one through for a goal right on the siren.

The match was an arm wrestle for the first three quarters, as both teams traded goals and leads, without either looking clearly superior. Thankfully, the Bombers took the ascendency in the last quarter, and eventually claimed the win.

We gained an interesting perspective sitting so close to the action. The athleticism of the players was more impressive. There was the gut running when the ball was being catapulted forward, there was the sheer size of Levi Casboult, and there was the physical bravery of players putting themselves in harm’s way. As the game reached its crescendo, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher threw himself into a marking contest to thwart an attack by the Suns. He immediately fell to the ground clutching his ankle. As he was helped from the ground, it was a stark reminder of the physical sacrifice players regularly make for their team. Sometimes that’s diluted when you’re sitting high up in the stands.

So, where’s the best spot for kids to watch the footy? That question remains unanswered, but when Jesse got high fives over the fence from Will Setterfield, Jake Kelly and Sam Durham as they made their way around the ground after the final siren, the smile on his face suggested he might ask to sit in the front rows again this season.

 

To read more on the Almanac by Ged McMahon click here.

 

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About Ged McMahon

Ged McMahon has been a Bombers fan for as long as he can remember. With a Grandpa who grew up just a spiralling torpedo punt from Windy Hill he didn't have much choice. When his junior football career resulted in almost as many possessions as games he eventually had to bite the bullet and give up his dream of captaining the Bombers to a Premiership. So his weekly footy fix became confined to the stands. He yearns for the next Premiership.

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