Round 2 – Port Adelaide v Sydney: The Joys of Winning and the Aftermath

It started a week ago at three quarter time at ANZ Stadium. We were losing dismally and the crowd was silent. Far too silent. “Oh God” I thought, “I’m not looking forward to flying to Adelaide next week, it’ll be a thrashing”. I wanted to cancel the flight, the hotel, the lot. Thirty-seven minutes later all that had changed. We’d played like the Swans of old, kicked 7 goals in the last quarter, and Won!

Off we flew to Adelaide with our red and white gear packed. We’d booked an apartment for the weekend in a nice quiet street, away from the hustle & bustle of Melbourne Street, in North Adelaide, and close enough to walk to the ground.

The first night passed without too much fuss, even though the inevitable Friday night noise from the local pubs kept us awake until midnight. It didn’t matter, Saturday was footy day. It was warm and welcoming here in Adelaide and we did what tourists do. Excitement was mounting, and at 5 o’clock we donned our red and white gear and set off to the beautiful Adelaide Oval.

We’d heard all about the Portress, all about the loudest and most passionate fans in the country. We’d heard that they even rivalled Collingwood in that regard!

At 7pm there was a lot of noise. Noise we were expecting. An announcement was made that they’d reached 58,000 odd members. A few minutes later there was more really loud noise. They all stood for their anthem and bellowed “Never Tear Us Apart”. They were so involved in this that they hadn’t realised that the game had actually started.

At three quarter time the large screen showed highlights of their two goals in the third quarter. Not too much noise at that stage. Then at some point later in the game another announcement told us that 49,000 odd people had turned up to the game – “What a wonderful crowd” we were told. That was it – hardly any noise at all from the loudest and most passionate mob in the Country. The Portress didn’t live up to its reputation.

But we did! And how we did! Back to that Bloods spirit. The Portress lit up to “Cheer Cheer the Red and the White” and we happily strolled back to our hotel. With no Fox replays to watch (love watching the winning games again when we get home) we went to bed, to hopefully re-live and dream about our wonderful win.

Saturday nights are usually worse than Friday nights. Retired folk like us want to sleep; all others appear to want to party. The same pub on Melbourne Street did its very best to thump thump thump its way until just past midnight, during which time the exhaust fan in the bathroom (which we’d deliberately turned on) had been trying its hardest to block out the thumping music. At 12.30 we turned the fan off.

Were just dozing off to sleep when there was loud knock on the door of the apartment under ours. Wide awake again. Almost asleep an hour later, and then it began. At first I thought it was Port Adelaide fans torturing themselves with some sort of ritual, then I thought “No, maybe its Swans fans enjoying themselves”. After all, most of the cars parked outside have either VIC or NSW number plates, so there are plenty of us here in Adelaide this Saturday night.

We were now both wide awake again listening to the most amazing sounds and noise. Noise that we’d so expected at the Portress. A different noise though. Lots of squeals, yelps, groans, oohs and aahs, a lot more squeals, and finally loud loud yells. “Oh,” we thought “this place isn’t built too well, fancy having to actually hear these torturous sounds”.

Half an hour later, and trying to re-live the wonderful moments of the game, it all started again. This time I thought the best way to deal with it was to not only visualise Buddy kicking that miraculous goal off the ground, but to turn the squeals and yelps into musical instruments churning out “Cheer Cheer The Red and The White”.

It worked in a fashion and for a short while. Certainly sang the song many times.

I looked at the clock by the bed. It was 2.30am. Off they went again. More very strong visualisations and loud singing of the song. My husband says “How can they do it for so long, maybe someone is sick”. “Oh Yeah!” I reply. My husband finally goes to sleep and I’m relieved to actually hear his snoring – a nice change – even though it doesn’t block out the torture. I’m starting to think a lot about sounds and noise at this stage, and realise that we generally don’t really notice the subtle effects they have on our lives. “We should actually listen more”, I think.

It’s now 3.30 am and we’re still enduring the on again off again human exploits. I start to think about writing down my thoughts on this three day sporting adventure, in a strange city, in a strange bed, and with very strange people (some would say not) separated from us by an extremely thin bit of building material, called a ceiling.

At 4am, their squeals, yelps and groans are interspersed with “cheep cheep cheep”. They have even woken the birds. The bird song is beautiful. Much like a swan singing, and I dream of getting some sleep. Alas, it doesn’t happen. At 5am the door underneath closes loudly and I assume one of them has gone home. I get out of bed and turn on the laptop. It is now 6am and “Oh My God” I’m not kidding: they’ve started again, this time really loudly.

My husband has managed to get some sleep and is unaware of this latest bombardment. I’ll tell him, when he wakes, that, with any luck this won’t happen again, but if it does, what the hell, I’ll put up with anything as long as we Win!

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About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.

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