Friday, 13 July 2012

Another Ghost Of Optus Oval Article

Don't you just hate this time of year - Christmas builds like a multi-tiered birthday cake, all candles and hopes and best wishes, all shiny wrapped presents and merry goodwill and then one stale puff and the candles are extinguished and a dead tree needs cutting down to fit into a green waste bin. You make those BIG New Years resolutions in a euphoric state you swear makes you see everything clean and clear and already you've broken every single one and it isn't even the end of January yet! The summer hols stretch out like a glorious Australian beach; filled with sand and surf, an elongated blue sky and a blazing hot yellow sun and then just as you finish stretching out the last of last year’s glitches the last day arrives and it is already ‘back to work’ time.

And that's why I love football! Just when you feel your life slipping away like sands in the egg timer and everything inside feels hard boiled and sullen like a little boy forced to tidy up his room suddenly you remember that the football season 2005 is almost upon us and the ‘back to work blues’ becomes an eagerness to see the new Old Dark Navy Blues. Sitting on the beach at Phillip Island watching the waves roll in like our famous third quarter goal avalanches I will admit to a part of my sun-dazzled mind drifting off and before I knew it I was crystal ball gazing about this up coming season. I love this clean slate time of the year when every footballer and every team has another chance and while there have been no victories there have yet to be any heart-breaking defeats. The season sparkles like that first holiday moment when you climb the rise and stare down at the glinting ocean as she calls to you like a long lost love. The first football thing I have to say is that I am excited about this year. People talk about lids and keeping a handle on it and not getting carried away but for me they are just mutton birds crying out for attention in the dunes. For me football is all about getting excited. It’s the one thing in our lives that we can get carried away about; when you can let your emotions run riot like a summer thunder storm. 

Football is glorious because it captures life’s great paradox. Football means nothing and absolutely everything; it’s the yin and yang of Australian culture. If you cannot get excited about your team's prospects in January then when can you get excited? Yes people can now quote that ex-hawthorn coach at me but I am not the coach merely a supporter letting the passion build like a glorious summer's night snuggling up with a loved one while sitting on a sand dune under the bright summer stars. I say this year will be a beauty! I say this year the bluebaggers will come riding back into town like an old fashioned posse intent on routing those cattle stealing rustlers. We are the Shane's off the football elite and we supporters are the little boy running after them crying 'Shane! Shane!’ This year we will show everyone who still carries a tender scar or anyone who still sneers or casts doubt upon this club that we are back. 

In 2005 the Blues will come alive! And I dare any team to take this side lightly! Just like the outnumbered hero we’ll show that it’s not just what you’ve got around you but what you’ve got inside you that counts. This year we will have pace and skill, we will have unity of expression built upon the ‘getting to know you’ games of last year and we will have muscle. For those who doubt this sun-drenched ghost get to training and have a look at some of the blokes. This side is ready to bust a gut just to lay a tackle or two on the teams of many colors. We'll be a big blue cloud ready to burst upon sides who think this year we will reproduce more of the same as last. This year we will be better. Last year was a year to gain respect back for the jumper this year is a year to begin the climb back up Everest. So while work beckons and I might even have to start reading a newspaper again or actually getting up some time before 10am I am not sad or even flat. I am bursting with excitement because this year we will show the wares of many players. Some old, some new, some borrowed, all Blue! 

This year may just be the beginning of a gloriously long Honeymoon for the club. I cannot wait to see a fit and hungry Kouta or a year older Andrew Walker. Livo will give it his all and T-Bird just looks like a racehorse ready to plunder. We have speed with Simmo and Chambers and Russell and others, we have Stevo and Campo and Scotland the Brave. Then there is Lappin and Teague and Houla and Fev. Lance is fit and raring to go as is Prenda and Frenchie. Betts and Blackers and T-Lo will excite and then there is young Waite and Davies and Stormin' and a bulked up Wiggo. Oh and there are others, players like Bryan and the Irish thoroughbred and his brother who have come to steal a Melbourne cup. 

I tell you I am pumped! This season will be a bottler! One to savour, a bluebagger revival, a Boston tea party with the Bluebaggers doing the raiding on the ship of dreams that is football! So let yourself get excited, let yourself smile even as you take that horribly familiar drive or tram/train back to work; for each day herein gets us one day closer to that very first bounce when the autumn sun shines off the Sherrin and the old Gods whisper old promises about life and redemption and the stealing of fire from the sun. Yes this year already beckons. This year the Blues will come alive in season 2005!

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