Thursday, June 23, 2011


It is an amazing ride, being a Collingwood supporter. It is a roller-coaster (Scenic Railway? Big Dipper?). Here is a little experience that highlights this fact.

On one Saturday in 2010 I found myself in the company of Dear Jude (DJ) and Ally on the way to Brisbane from Kingsford-Smith airport. [Don't ask why. We just WERE!]. It was the morning of the drawn Grand Final, but we did not know the outcome at that stage. I had brought Steph's Collingwood scarf and DJ suggested I put it on as we entered the airport. I did, and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Now I am not one to wear trappings of any description. I do not wear jewellery or message t-shirts. I certainly do not like to adorn myself with symbols of corporations, schools or universities with which I have been associated. My first task, on receipt of a newly-acquired motor vehicle, is to scrape/dissolve the sticker off the back window declaiming the business of its origin. But here I was, on Grand Final Day, with Steph's scarf in my bag, at Sydney Airport. I put it on while in the queue through security.

The first incident invoved the security chap ordering that the Collingwood scarf be placed in a tray for scanning. This did not happen, but I put it into a tray anyhow, pretending that such an article was as offensive to many as any sexist or racist material. Sadly, the security chap was of Asian appearance and did not fully comprehend the levels of hilarity I had just attained. Not to worry, I had a good old chuckle to myself.

Having caught up with the girls on the 'other side' of security, we made our way to the cafe for a coffee. Here we sat near a little family just back from 6 weeks overseas, the most recent stop Canada. On spying the scarf, the little NSW-dwelling family (and therefore not expected to have any feeling for sport other than some form of rugby) launched into many and various reasons why Collingwood could/should not win the 'Grandy'. This marks an enormous change from the attitudes of little more than a decade ago when similarly geographically located dwellers would not have given discussion of Australia's own football game the time of day. Yet here they were rabbiting on about how St Kilda was going to chew Collingwood's eyes out and other sorts of invective.

The third 'rise' I got that day about Collingwood came when we were sitting in the departure lounge waiting to take off for Sydney on our holiday. A 50-something lady also sporting a Collingwood scarf struck up a conversation with me on the subject of support for the Magpies. She was capital P "Passionate". She loved all the players, reeling their names off one by one and extolling their individual skills and virtues. But just a minute. Isn't that a North London accent I am hearing? A STRONG North London accent? YES! How can a middle-aged lady such as the one before me have such a strong feeling for Collingwood? I asked her about it. It seems that she was about to retire after a long career as a palliative care nurse. She had looked after an aged chap for a number of years who had been born, raised, and employed in the suburb of Collingwood. He was passionate too and in his last years had been cared for by this lady. She told me of conversations she had had with this chap as to what was to happen after death. He asked her what was to become of his love of Collingwood and she told him that she would take it up on his behalf after he had 'moved on'. And she had. And there she was getting out of Melbourne to watch the Grand Final between Collingwood and St Kilda on TV WITHOUT INTERRUPTION just as we were.

Collingwood went on to draw with St Kilda that day and won easily in the replay the following Saturday. I had been moved to tears with the nurse's story. She was returning to Britain after a number of years resident in Australia. I wondered if she would maintain her support for Collingwood from over there. I bet she does. As I do. There is no accounting for support for a football team. It gets under your skin. As I head off to a match (which happens seldom these days) I make myself determined not to get 'carried away'. Before too long I am hollering along with the best of those around me. Urging them on. WILLING them to win. GO PIES!

No comments:

Post a Comment