I have not yet fully recovered from Richmond’s Sunday devastation at the hands of Geelong. Among the many e-mails and SMSs I received from friends emphasizing what was already known to me, there was the bizarre question “how long did you stay”?
My answer to that question was, is, and always will be: I proudly support my team, and I stay until the final siren, no matter what the result, and no matter when the ultimate result has been determined.
Isn’t that what supporting a footy team is about? In any year, only one team will come away with the ultimate prize, and most fans of most teams will end up disappointed with their final result. There will be wins (eventually) and losses, exultation and disgust, pride and shame. That roller coaster is what comes with the territory when you follow almost any sporting team. What is constant for me as a fan is loyalty – I support the Tigers through all of their troubles, and look forward to the good times, which will eventually come as they will for all clubs.
If you go to a movie, and pay your money for entertainment, and then are bitterly disappointed by what you see, then maybe, you might walk out. And perhaps if you were a footy fan who didn’t support either of the teams playing, or perhaps a visitor from another country who wanted to see the great spectacle of AFL, you might have act differently. After all, 10 goals to 1 after quarter time, and 20 to 2 at half time is not what most people would call “entertainment”. But if you support a team, the experience is far more than a detached spectacle.
Sunday was the worst I have ever seen. Will I see another performance like that? I hope not. Will I go to any fewer games because of it? No. Will I look forward to a better performance in the coming weeks? Absolutely!
Because when you hit rock bottom, the only way is up.