The Big Dance

Friday 26 September 2008

I've been feeling anxious and nervous all week. My inner deconstructionist whispers that feeling nervous and anxious about a game which, when reduced down to it, is a bunch of guys competing against a bunch of guys to see who can kick a leather ball through the goals more than the opposition is ... well, it's just not cricket, is it?

It is just football, I agree. But my heart is not in my deconstructing this week. Analysing and casting cool critical eyes over our systems and ways of living are always sore requirements. But not today and certainly not tomorrow.

I'm far too gone with the romance of it all to be indulging in those sorts of things. Melbourne has gone Grand Final mad and my team is part of it for the first time in 17 years and I can't stop pinching myself.

A couple of kilometres down the road as I walked to work today 100,000 people were lined up for the annual Grand Final Parade. The shop I buy my lunch in had posters and balloons stuck up when I went in today. Yelled out my support for my team before ordering my lunch. Wore my scarf to work. Draped another scarf around my cubicle, stuck up a poster, in competition with my workmate Mary, who had an opposing blue and white scarf and poster of her own draped around her workstation.

Festivity. Buoys your step. You can feel it in the air. Melbourne is a football town. Everyone is talking about it. It's a Christmas Eve feeling in Melbourne town this evening. What I'm loving the most about the leadup is this sense of community. Of shared excitement. Of a connection with other people. Of the suspection that most of us are drowning in our own loneliness, dying for festival, yearning for connection. You can see it in people's eyes.

I don't have seats for tomorrow's game. My mum and I are meeting three hours before the game starts so that we can secure "front row" seats in the standing room of M2. I plan to take a book, my camera, a pen, something to write on. Comfy footwear. There is something attractive about being forced to sit around for three hours and having nothing to distract myself with unless it's a book or some paper or chattery conversation. No computers. Oh, there's my mobile and I imagine there will be flurries of nervous text messages going backwards and forwards. But you can only text so much before you tire of it. Much more exciting to watch the passing parade, knowing you are part of it, soaking in the atmosphere. Knowing that the magnitude of the occasion is going to rise me above self-consciousness. Even looking forward to standing with a group of people I don't know. These big occasions always get us over our animosity towards each other and throws us into cameraderie.

And so this week I have laid aside my deconstructionist hat and put on my poet's beanie :) Walking misty eyed into the experience. Smearing Vaseline on my lenses. Mindful that it's just a game. Mindful that I love this game. Mindful that it may just be a game but whatever the result I will shed tears tomorrow. Perhaps I should feel embarrassed about that, I'm not sure. But that's something that also belongs to my deconstructionist side and that side is packed away for Monday. Hell, I might even leave it in its box till the following Monday. 'Cause deconstructing and analysis are all very well, but singing and festival and colour and community provide the vision about what could possibly be. Even if that's starting from the position of a bunch of guys kicking a dead pigskin around.

Whatever. One more sleep. Go you Hawkers.


  1. How happy and exciting for you! It's OK to want to revel in the beauty that is this event. I remember the couple of times when our basketball team went to the NBA finals (the biggest basketball win in the nation) and it was like the city came ALIVE. It's like, who knew we all liked each other so well and people all slapping each other on the back and throwing's awesome.

    So I totally get it.

  2. Just enjoy it girl!! dont analyse it :) Wow, even for us people who kinda like watching footy now and then, but arent that fussed, there is definately a buzz in the air. Alex has set his alarm for 5.30 to watch the marathon and the NM breakfast...etc etc.
    It does feel fun to be in Melbourne
    Go Hawkies!! do it for the whole Brehaut clan who arent here, and the ones who are ;)

  3. I understand, I am a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan, when they lost the Superbowl I wanted to die, when they won three years ago I was floating for months.

    Go Hawkers!

  4. : D
    sounds like a blast...! Go Hawkers! (and I know little to nothing about em', but I feel it, GO Hawkers!)
    Yeah, you are wearing your "poet's beanie" with pride. Go girl!
    Here in the US, we just have financial collapses and circus politics to contend with ( I wish I was there... or in Argentina when they are in the world cup, yeah, baby... )

  5. It feels that way whenever Montreal is in the Stanley Cup playoffs (hockey, of course). There are flags on cars, hockey sweaters everywhere, and a couple of my students stopped shaving, like the hockey team, for as long as they remain in the playoffs. One of them looked pretty good in a beard, but his girlfriend was anxious for the playoffs to end.
    Have a great time!

  6. who's a happy girl then ;)

    congrats on your team winning

    today was a first for me - first time i've watched an entire game of football in my life

    we were at a grand final party, not much else to do!?!

    i survived :P


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