I’ll point out early that losing has never been a deliberate choice of mine, and I am not the sporting masochist who seeing the North Sydney Bears kicked out of the comp decides to buy a personalised Cronulla Sharks number plate reading ‘Pr3m13r5.’ There are no pictures of Isreal Folau wearing an orange singlet scattered around my house.
My allegiances have instead been thrust upon me like a hopeless ugly stray dog, with a bitter sweet mix of sentiment and geographic isolation leading me to look after my adopted abomination even though deep down I think would rather not.
|"C'mon, it's my first day!"|
When you support a terrible team you find yourself very much living from day to day, as if every day is New years Eve ’99… except instead of dancing to that delightful Prince song you’re waiting for the Millennium Bug to start blowing up your rice maker.
Each week’s team sheet is the beginning of the end, as you wince at the latest busted-up journey man or pimply face fifteen year old set to make his debut. By this stage of the season the coach has become a mumbling quasi religious type, and has resorted to simply chanting “Youth and experience, do the little things right, youth and experience…” at press conferences trying to break the curse.
As a fan you like to think you are better than this, and if given the chance you could quickly turn things around, such is your intimate knowledge of your team. However when pressed by now sympathetic work colleagues for answers you find yourself speaking vaguely of ‘overcoming the odds’ and ‘pulling out something special,’ like a pre-budget politician.
Your team’s games themselves are par for the course. Two of your gun recruits have pulled out during the week with heart strains and you fall behind early, then mortally so by half time. After a sustained 8min fight back in the second half the opposition pushes you aside like a father humouring his young son in an arm wrestle, and you are left to marvel at the irony of your team being made redundant in a Winter sport before Winter has actually begun.
At times like these there are few places to hide. Going to your team’s games in an attempt to surround yourself with fellow sufferers just puts you in closer quarters to the game’s lunatic fringe, the 500 or so fan who would show up if game’s were played at 3am in the morning and with half-time entertainment supplied by retired footy players performing improvised comedy in drag. Fans whom suddenly make up a confronting percentage of the crowd as attendances drop.
|'Care to escort me to watch the football Madam?"|
Sitting at home is bearable, as long as you don’t go anywhere near an internet forum (LOL, pwned etc) or have the TV sound on to hear Laurie Daley drone “And they drop the ball agaaaain..”
If anything you just wish you could just put your thumb out and hitch a ride on the latest bandwagon roaring past. But it’s too late. Your support for your team is as plain to see as Lara Bingle’s balcony, and you are left to wait by your broken down old halfback whilst team’s that you not long ago laughed at flip the bird on the way to the top.
Fortunately our competition is absurdly drawn out leaving room for a few token victories at the rear of the season, just enough to con you into buying your membership next season. Which you undoubtedly will.
And there's a pretty good chance I'll be sitting right behind you.