I have an addiction and I’m not afraid to admit it. My name is Lisa and I am a footy addict.
I sit here today going through my annual grieving process. The AFL Grand Final is over and I am lamenting the fact that footy is finished for another year. For the next five or six months there will be no more games to attend, no more TV panel shows dissecting every aspect of the game, no more hot pies to be consumed while watching “my boys” go through their pre match warm ups.
And sadly, I’m mourning the fact that I will never see my favourite player pull on the blue and white hoops again. (Thanks for the memories Stevie J!)
I haven’t always loved football, but it’s always been part of my life. My father played and as a toddler I was taken to local football grounds to cheer him from the sidelines. As I got older I was dragged along to watch my brother play, then various boyfriends, so I learned the rules by osmosis.
As well as local footy, I was brought up watching the Geelong Cats. In our family there was no choice. Being a Geelong supporter was part of my birth right and there was no discussing it. Like my mother before me (and my children to follow) I was born a Cats’ supporter. My grandparents lived a ten minute walk from Kardinia Park and Saturdays in winter meant netball in the morning, followed by soup at Nanna’s for lunch, and then the trek to the footy ground (often in the rain) to watch the game.
As an adult, football has been a way into new communities for me, especially when I moved to the country. Even when I had little in common with some of the other supporters, football gave us a starting point, a common language to begin a conversation. It doesn’t take long to make friends when you are loudly barracking for the local team!
For me football has always been about family and community. These days my husband and I take our kids to every Geelong home game. We know all the people who sit near us and we bond over nail-biting games, bad umpiring decisions, miracle goals, and the privilege of singing our team song on the days when we win.
The thing I love most about going to the footy is the freedom to verbally and physically express joy and sorrow. As adults, there are not too many places you can literally jump up and down for joy, or shout out your frustrations. At the game I can cheer, groan, put my head in my hands or embrace a stranger (after one of those miracle goals!) and no one will bat an eyelid.
So now you know why there’s a footy match or two in most of my books!