|Issue No 64||28 July 2000|
In the Land of Dreams
Our resident Swans' fanatic Terry O'Brien lays bare his dreams for the business end of the season.
The footy season draws to a premature close due to the bloody Olympics. Not that I mind the Olympics but it's going to make the off season awfully long. There again it may be enough to expunge the season from my mind. The trouble is that it may still be a memorable season. My team, (the Sydney Swans, for those that have come in late), have a vague chance of making the finals. It will take a miracle, but it could happen and hope springs where ever it will. It's the stuff that dreams are made of, and that's probably why sport is the opiate of the masses. You can dream about winning the lottery, and you can dream your team will defy logic and make your year.
The trouble is that you look back through the year and you analyze your team's performance and know that it's impossible. We lost so many games that we should have won. We lost so many games by less than a kick - or two. They built up our hopes only to get flogged by a team-that-we-should-have-beaten. I particularly remember that kick by Collingwood's Anthony Rocca. It was a kick for goal from the center of the ground, well nearly anyway. And it won them the game. What really galls is that not long ago he was our star recruit, albeit a most reluctant one, and the bastard sank us. And didn't he enjoy it.
Still, the dream lives. You take apart the remaining rounds and work out what needs to happen. It's a week by week proposition. If something doesn't go right you go through it again and see if there is still a hope. The batteries in the calculator need to be replaced in order to complete the complex mathematical computations. You start putting in your tipping comp predictions to fit in with what you want to happen, (your hopes of winning the damned thing are finished, mainly because you've faithfully tipped your team all year, and maybe it will win you the jackpot). All the while you are hoping that your team does the right thing by themselves. And you.
Then reality strikes. It can't happen. You know this to be true. But then you look back and think, hey, I didn't dream that I would see Paul Kelly playing again this year, let alone taking a possible Mark Of The Year in his first game back. He should win it on the sympathy vote alone, if nothing else.
When I sat down and wrote my predictions for the year I didn't dream that Essendon would enter round twenty-one undefeated and looking undefeatable. I said Carlton wanted to prove that making last year's Grand Final wasn't a fluke and now they're running a clear second on the ladder. As I wipe the egg off my face, (naturally enough I had the Swans winning the flag), I start to build other dreams. No more realistic, but dreams never the less.
The new dream has Essendon going through the home and away season without losing a game. At least they won't be the first to do it. The despicable Collingwood did it about seventy years ago, I think. I dream that the Bummers, ( the Bombers for the more polite among us), will lose the preliminary final by a point. This repeating of history appeals to me. Essendon, by the way, lost the corresponding game last year by that margin (to Carlton) and to the Swans in '96. Then the hopeless romantic takes over. The team that beats the Bombers is the Swans, and, of course, we go on to win the Big One.
So, back to reality. But don't expect me to stay there. OK, last week we had a magnificent win over another mortal enemy - North Melbourne, or the Kangaroos, if you insist. We still have a few scores to settle and last week was a great start to achieving the satisfaction of vengeance.
Along the way I wanted to see Wayne Carey humiliated. He may have got four goals, but he was well beaten on the night. And the chant of "Carey's a Wanker" rang around the ground. I don't know if it embarrassed Carey, but it did seem to upset Ron Barassi. According to the press reports he said the behavior of the crowd made him feel like crawling under a rock. My thoughts, upon reading that were, perhaps, that in spite of the fact that he coached the Swans through their darkest hours, he doesn't really understand the dynamics of footy in this town. The Swans are, for the moment at least, our "Rules" team. Since then there has been a press release, (which, as far as I know hasn't been taken up by the rags that ran the story), stating that Ron was badly misquoted and what he did say was reportedly taken totally out of context. I hope so.
Rarely ever has "Cheer, Cheer' the Red and the White" been sung with so much vigor. And joy. There was another song, "There's Only One Team In Sydney." I suspect the significance will not be lost on the would be interlopers. Maybe there is room for a second team in this town but, at this stage at least, it's obviously not North. So, that got week one out of the way.
In reality all teams are our mortal enemies. And your next opponent is the highest on the hate list. . Now for Richmond. The mongrels beat us in our first encounter of the premiership season and shouldn't have been allowed to do so. Their season had seemed to be falling apart at the seams, but they seem to think that they have got back on track, if we can help to put the finishing touches to ruining their dreams it would give a great sense of satisfaction. There's more than one Tigers fan to whom I can give a smug nod of sympathy to in recognition of another season of hope headed for the gurgler. Footy's a cruel game, and it's fans even more so.
Next comes Geelong. Now I'm thinking of a good reason to hate the Cats - other than the obvious fact that they are the opposition and they stand in the way of us and a spot in the finals - but the fact that they beat us a couple of months ago is as good a starting point as any. Besides, I want to play them in the Grand Final. After all, there's the old joke - who's going to win the GF? Dunno, who ever plays Geelong. Mind you I would hate to be the ones to lose to them and spoil the joke. OK, our part of the deal's been taken care of, and we are relying on the others to do their bit. Come on, this is a dream! Well, I'm allowed to, aren't I?
I'll dream on.
Interview: Greg Sword Unsheathed
The NUW national secretary is set to be endorsed as ALP Federal president next week. He talks about the relationship between the two wings of the labour movement.
Unions: Phone Rage, Headaches and Stress
A comprehensive survey of the call centre industry conducted by the ASU has revealed an industry workplace culture dominated by excessive monitoring and stress.
Economics: And the Winner Is .... Sydney?
Austrade chief economist Tim Harcourt looks at the export impact of the Sydney Olympics and asks if we'll win gold.
International: Western Sahara: Referendum Or War?
A June UN referendum in Western Sahara could have provided the people of Western Sahara a chance to exercise their right to self-determination and independence. It didn't.
History: The Union's Roots in Song
We look at some of the songs that kept working people going through their darkest hours.
Media: Unchaining the ABC
The ALP needs to rethink our public institutions to determine how they might better deliver the ends for which they were originally established.
Environment: Motorways Fail the Pollie Test
Our daily grind of congested roads, polluted air, and frustrated motorists is putting all and sundry to the test, and not least Liberal and Labor politicians.
Satire: Murdoch Launches Bid for Under-9s Netball Team
Sydney's lucrative junior league netball broadcasting market has been shaken by a bid by one of the world's most predatory entrepreneurs, Rupert Murdoch, to secure ownership of the most successful team in the league.
Review: Espionage a Trois
The Whitlams' brass section his teamed with some of the hippest cats in Sydney to make the sort of music you'll want to shoot baddies to.
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