Upset Round

Now that the annual ‘upset Round’ has been completed with football scholars’ throughout the land and possibly beyond, predictions being turned upside down and my geriatric Cats morphed from roosters to feather dusters as quick as you can say Podsiadliwho, I reflect, perhaps because I am upset.

Some comment on Anzac Day footy, as the time is opportune.

AFL and the limpets that feed off its obesity, leave Anzac Day alone. No further exploitation. It is not yours. You don’t own it. You never will.  You never should.

The concept of a game of footy on the day is fine. Those served would probably take comfort. A free country for which they fought celebrating uniquely is great, but no individual or group, has any right to suck the spirituality from the day for personal egotistical and commercial ends.

Is footy the only thing we can do on Anzac Day?

What about the women who served? Sister Vivian Bullwinkle and others. It’s a bit selectively blokey boys.

And what Australian statute enshrines only two contemporary team’s players participating in active service last century? The Exclusive Club Dollar Bill perhaps.

For example the Australian Training Units Team that played in London in 1916 had players from all over Australia, not just two under developed inner Melbourne suburbs. Who did ‘Bluey’ Truscott and Ron Barassi senior play for?

This Orwellian readjustment of history may be appear naive but in reality it is a crass and greedy cannibalising of the spirit of the legacy of all who served the British Empire  at one of it’s times of need. Recognise Anzac Day if you wish but don’t swallow it.

Anzac Day is Anzac Day. Footy is just footy. Anzac Day is about reverently celebrating the spirit of Australian endeavour during times of crisis. Footy is about irreverently celebrating the spirit of the contest. They are both legitimate, but quite distinct, Australian entities.

And for any economic rationalist business development guru usurpers who salivate as the turnstiles click, consider this. How many would go to a game if there was no public holiday? Further, what is the holiday for?

Now be good boys and hop over to the back seat where you belong. Let factual history steer the vehicle rather than vice versa.


  1. John Butler says


    You may be a little hard on some elements, but I tend to agree overall.

    The whole sport/war/nationalism/commerce link is murky territory by my reckoning.

    I don’t doubt that most parties think they’re paying tribute, but lines are easily crossed or blurred.

    I’ve found the attitude of many of the younger Almanackers to the “Anzac Spirit” quite interesting.

    They are very respectful, but I can’t help reflecting on the how greatly outlooks have changed over 20-30 years.

    I suppose different people and generations will inevitably view history differently. (no great revelation there probably)

  2. Yes John.

    It would be hard to take issue with the patriotism of most thinking Gen Y’s. They are great kids.

    I have no issue with the Anzac Day message generally (see my 2009 Anzac Day report from York Park in Tassy) and have had fierce arguements with my late ex WW2 serving father on flag and republicanism issues. My concern it is being hyjacked quite cleverly for less than honourable off mission ends.

    The fact that AFL footy is a vehicle for spreading the message to the unaware is ok but for people to associate the horror, sacrifice and futility of war with the glory of winning a footy match it goes crudely too far.

    Perhaps if those who wished to researched the Vivian Bullwinkle story (Google will get them started) they will see why some people have concerns. War and football are very different animals.

    I may be considered a grumpy old man. Really I am just a casual old thinking ex hippie, enjoying an off beat life style while having necessity to intrude into mainstream from time to time, who reserves the right to respond to matters that rise beyond my tollerable level on the BS meter.

    I’m off to regional footy game this weekend to watch my son and a whole lot of his mates play (infront of their parents) a very important game for very little financial inducement. Many of them have had to be lured away from surfing on the wild west coast by the coach.

    Cheers, Phantom.

  3. Phantom – I agree mostly. I agree that the AFL in particular could be accused of at least trying to hijack ANZAC Day, I agree that the ceremony (pronounced “cere-money”, not “cere*-moany” – the latter sounds like a porno term) could become more of a show than a remembrance, but I do take issue with wanky academics who take aim at ANZAC Day from afar, and often from a misguided far, and suggest it is some sort of war glorification or that those who recognize the day are misguided them selves. Its very easy to be critical, much harder to be instructive and constructive.

    PS – I’m not accusing you of being an academic !!

  4. I don’t understand Dips. What’s an Academic? I’m just a simple Cats supporter.

    If you get to the Burnie New Year’s Day Carnival some time I will introduce you to some real academics.

    Cheers, Phantom.

    (Read Hawthorn vs West Coast round 5 last year. I see Anzac Day and war from many angles but not from the MCG.)

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