• Round 11- North Melbourne v Sydney: The Union of Old Friends

    For the past four years, I have attempted to juggle full-time study with full-time employment. This has resulted in a full-time headache. However, the end is nigh, and it is now more than ever, that I appreciate the unquestionable need to seek the support of old friends.


    This week has meant exams. Exams mean study, and study means no footy until the weekend. Not ideal. Not at all. It’s been a long week. But, like an old and trusted friend, the Sydney Swans wait for me at the end of a week full of torment and unknowing, with a preparedness to share. To share in the celebration.


    For four years, my focus has oscillated between student centres and the SCG, pedagogy and Pykey’s ruck work, multiplicative thinking and maniacal thinking, social and emotional learning and fearing for my very own social and emotional wellbeing, this being highly dependent on whether the Bloods win or bloody well lose!


    From my balcony, countless hours have been spent philosophising while surveying the glistening waters of the Derwent. Supported by my staple of store-bought strong flat whites and home-made double espressos, fresh from the dependable De Longhi, it’s been the prospect of the Bloods rather than the prospect of a new career, that have often been front of mind.


    The Blood Stained Angels face the Shinboners tonight, and I’m preparing for another winter’s night spent engrossed in the type of benevolent affection only known in friendship. Me ol’ mates wear Red and White and this week, as they have done many times before, they provide me with much anticipated gratification. We’re old friends you see. Watching my team is a reward.


    I’m impressed with the edginess to this season’s performances. I see a genuine will to win, and a ruthless demeanour which speaks volumes about the boys’ approach to their footy in 2015. The start of this match is no exception and our first half is jet-propelled, unrelenting and beautiful. Jets sets the tone with his balletic boots, skipping around defenders and caressing the Sherrin home, from fifty-five. Gaz is leaving scorch marks all over the Docklands and between our much-loved number thirty-two and our much-loved number sixteen, the faithful are left in awe.


    Our Badass Blonde Brigade of Hanners, Kizza and Parksy dominate through the middle and the beneficiaries are Buddy, Tippo and Goodesy. At quarter-time it appears as though I’m not the only one who’s been pondering Pykey’s profession, as Horse sprays like on only Horse can.


    Harry & Tommy look like ten-year gems, and Ramps may well be in the midst of constructing a remarkable transition from Sydney park footy to All-Australian half-back. Who knows.


    Post half-time and the Swannies appear to have lost some of their first half motivation. I can sympathise. In my quest to attain my teaching degree, I’ve experienced many moments of minimal motivation. Textbooks have often been replaced by a Footy Almanac, words from Kirky or Micky O, Martin Blake’s ‘Rise of the Swans’ or Jim Main’s ‘In the Blood’. My playlist of Bach, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and Ludovico Einaudi has at times, lost priority to the melodic and delightfully distracting tones of Dappled Cities, Future Islands and Royksopp.


    The Enemy fight back, but so does our champion. In more ways than one. Showing the spark of seasons past, A. Goodes is proving the doubters wrong. And don’t we just love it. Witnessing our mercurial number thirty-seven bursting through packs and dancing around defenders has me dancing around the lounge room. This is all I was hoping for. As Buddy hammers in that final nail with his fourth, another four points are locked away.


    And, as I celebrate the end of another trying semester, the Sydney Swans celebrate another fine victory. This season is progressing nicely, causing my mind to temporarily drift. I wonder what’s in store?


    Just like my Swans, I’m not standing on the victory dais yet, but I’m charging into the mid-season break full of hope. Banking wins and appreciating a renewed sense of self along the way. Perhaps, this Spring, my old friends and I will join in union to toast a job well done.
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