Round 2 – Essendon v Hawthorn: Grant Denyer, Lifeless Hawks and kittens

“No Hannah, you can’t go to the footy. We have Easter dinner at 5, we can’t be late.”

It’s five-thirty. I am still at home, my mother presumably still at work. I should have expected this.

I’m watching the game on TV. Hawthorn is losing but I don’t feel uncomfortable just yet. We just need a few quick goals and a thrashing will still be within our reach.

Six o’clock. We leave the house. Mum blames our one-hour delay on my brother, who decided to change his jumper as the front gate clicked shut.

“I hate it when we’re late. It makes me feel anxious”, she chirps.

Doesn’t bloody compare to the anxiety of Hawthorn being one goal down with one minute to go. I know that a win’s possible here, but I am very well aware that a loss is too. This does not suit me. Having made a bet (or rather, a Footify Fanshake, NAB’s latest project) before the game, I didn’t even contemplate this outcome. I don’t even know what I have possibly agreed to. May the Footy Gods look over me and protect me.

”Hannah, are you okay?” My mother muckrakes.

Brent Stanton has smothered Jono O’Rourke. No, I am not okay.

“Gee this commentator’s dramatic.”

Another acute observation.

“Well it’s pretty close, I don’t blame him.” I retort.

I just want one minute of silence.


She turns up the volume and squeals with excitement. She cheers for her favourite hawthorn players, Lance Franklin and Shane Crawford. It’s been a while.

Hawthorn lose. We shuffle into my aunty’s Hawthorn abode, the heaviness of loss weighing on our shoulders. Upon entering the house, we are met with an equally sinister air.

“The cat’s unconscious.”

A fresh wave of panic sees headless chooks pander over the helpless kitten.

”Which hospital is closer- Collingwood or East Malvern?”

East Malvern, please, I beg silently. I’m not prepared to let Collingwood too, let down these Hawthornites.

The team’s dejected, but rallies together. My mum trudges back to the car, one aunty tries her Bowen therapy on the kitten, the other juggles multiple phones. My brother and I get out of the way. There’s not a lot you can do from the sidelines.

At my family’s Easter celebrations, deadbeat cats are definitely a dinner table conversation. I have the inkling that this year may be otherwise. Once the pet-bound car departs, conversation turns to the more upbeat/expletive-ridden topic ‘the AFL’s agenda is corrupt/we lost to a bunch of druggies/Essendon are the worst club ever’. Smiles are a-plenty.

Essendon’s song trumpets from the telly. My phone is binging, almost in time with the alarm of the oven. Nobody moves except my Bowen-Aunty. Reaching for the remote, the song proves too torturous for her to endure. She changes the channel.

It’s Grant Denyer.

She changes the channel.

It’s Grant Denyer.

She changes the channel.

It’s Grant Denyer.

“Three bloody channels.”

We’ve all had enough.

Our personal Family Feud is interrupted by the slamming of the front door. My grandfather enters, minutes later followed by his son, seconds later followed by his son. Never have I seen apples fall so close to a tree.

Dinner is a quiet affair. I think we are all digesting the various events of the past three hours. I have my own set of realisations: whilst the jovial mood of Easter has been clouded by lifeless hawks and kittens this year, that’s okay. In fact, it’s part of the Easter package. Stripping away the glitz of chocolate eggs and ‘winning the chocolates’, we all have to experience loss to truly value life. And with life comes the knowledge that tomorrow is another day, a new opportunity. It’s not called the period of Resurrection for nothing.


About Hannah Kuhar

Netballer working in banking. Definitely unbiased Hawthorn supporter. Passionate about socio-emotional vulnerabilities and the behaviours of high performing teams. IG: Hannah Kuhar


  1. Grant Fraser says

    “we all have to experience loss to truly value life.”

    Indeed, Hannah, indeed. The best thing about winning is not losing…especially to Them.

  2. well done Hannah, got a laugh out of doing bowen therapy on the cat.

  3. Great story the Easter message was very touching

Leave a Comment