The Red and White Sox?
I've always thought that one of the most important rules to follow for successful blogging (or writing in general) is to not state the bleeding obvious. However, rules were made to be broken, so herewith a short (and non-techy) diversion into the world of Australian Rules Football.
Sport in general is most about emotion, or more specifically, passion. As a player or spectator, you get more out of sport by being more passionate about it. And as a spectator of team sports, one of the best ways to become passionate is to follow a team. The effects of a substantial emotional investment in the team can be quite intoxicating; you feel great when the team wins, and disappointed when they lose.
In more extreme cases (more extreme than I anyway), you refer to the club as "we", you curse the umpires for the decisions that go against your team, and you ignore the transgressions committed by your team. Regardless of how hardcore you are, the effects are particularly pronounced when physically surrounded by thousands of like-minded individuals at the ground.
So it was last week when the team that I follow, the Sydney Swans, came back from the dead (as the commentators put it). In one of the most amazing games of football (any code) that I have witnessed, Nick Davis kicked three final-term goals, including a match-winner literally seconds from the full-time siren. The crowd went absolutely ballistic. And you would have to be made of stone not to have been caught up in the excitement.
Swans fans haven't had a long tradition of success. I think the comparison to the Boston Red Sox is not out of the question: the last time the Swans won a Grand Final was a long time ago in a city far, far away. In fact, it was 1933, back when they were the South Melbourne Football Club. I have been following them on and off for several years now (but not as far back as 1933).
So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I watched the Swans play their traditional rival St. Kilda for the right to play in this year's Grand Final. The previous match was just too close for comfort and there was no way that they could count on another miracle by any one player.
Suffice it to say that the entire team put in an gutsy and inspiring performance to prevail over the Saints, 96 points to 65. So now they play either the Weagles or the Crows — depending on which of those teams wins tonight's match — in the Grand Final next Saturday.
Watching a team you support (and have supported for some time despite a long losing streak) play in the premier competition of that sport is the most rewarding and exciting experience you can hope for as a spectator. I can't wait.
Go you Swannies!