Wow. Just wow. So, this is what it feels like when your team win a Premiership? No wonder people get so carried away! For the three people in Australia who aren’t sure what I am referring to, the Melbourne Demons have just broken a 57-year drought and one the 20212 AFl Premiership—and now a whole generation of Dees supporters just don’t know what to do with themselves.
A real nail biter
Despite being moved to Perth due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Grand Final really was a cracker of a game (And didn’t I predict that it would be just like Melbourne to win a Grand Final the year that they couldn’t play at home?). But, despite the overwhelming final score and dominance in the final stages, The Demons couldn’t make it easy on the fans and delivered another emotional rollercoaster.
The Dees came out of the blocks very strong and at quarter time most fans would have been feeling pretty good. But, I’d been hurt before and—like I had joked during the game against Geelong that I would relax when we were 80 points ahead...and did!—I wasn’t taking anything for granted. This seemed to be borne out when we got to halftime and the Demons were looking not so good, and I was a very nervous fan going into the main break.
Footy with friends
One of the things that I enjoyed about this game was chatting via Facebook (and posting way too much) with the network of other Demons fans I know, some of whom I hadn’t talked to for far too long. Reconnecting over the game was a wonderful feeling, even if it was only to share our collective angst and trepidation.
When Melbourne hit the accelerator and not only clawed back the advantage, but handed out a thrashing for the ages, one could feel the spirits starting to lift, and even the most cynical of supporters began to dare to dream. And, when the final siren rang, the scenes of jubilation on the screen were repeated in households spread from coast to coast. The Norm Smith curse was broken, and the Cup was where it belonged.
Together in the hard times, now together in the great times
Being able to share that with my friends, even virtually, only added to the joy and made it all the sweeter. I rang my parents, wanting to talk to my dad who had been waiting as long as I for this and had almost gone to bed at half time but was glad he hadn’t, then rang a few other friends. Then, I watched the congrats from friends who followed other teams, even the Doggies, and it seemed no one really begrudged us this long awaited victory.
And, that was perhaps the best thing about this game. It was played in a great spirit, and the Doggies were classy in defeat (and played a hell of a game despite the final score line. The Dees were gracious in victory, and if my eyes got a bit misty when Gawney acknowledged Neale—one of the nicest guys you can imagine—who can blame me?
“There’s always next year” is no longer a curse
Despite the challenges presented by COVID, this Grand Final gave us everything we could have hoped for—a feel good story, a cracking game, and all the emotion you could ever ask for. Now, the only struggle is adjusting to a new world where my team has a Premiership in my lifetime, and an unbroken, but overflowing, heart. I am trying not to become insufferable with my gloating, but to just enjoy the moment. And, maybe I will even start to dream of back to back flags!
David Goodwin is the former Editor of The Salvation Army’s magazine,War Cry. He is also a cricket tragic, and an unapologetic geek.
David Goodwin archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-goodwin.html