Hi all. Long time no post.
I guess I haven’t been compelled to write since my regular life is nowhere near as exciting as my time in Japan.But here I am again for a couple of reasons:
1. I want to maybe post about once a week, so this is a start
2. My last week has been a bit nutso
So let’s start back last Saturday. Most of you know I am a Pies member and I was pretty excited for last weeks Grand Final. I had been to the finals games, including the smashing of the Cats, so liked our chances, but will admit only felt 50/50. I don’t need to go over that game again… it has all been said, but needless to say I was a bit shellshocked like everyone. I really didn’t know what to think. Nick Maxwell said it best when he thought the Pies dodged a bullet.
Well, the best thing to come out of the draw was another Grand Final. Most importantly the AFL’s decision to get more tickets into the hands of members. “Hey!” I thought. “That means me!”. Well I kinda thought that. I was a little hopeful, but then also realistic. I am an average joe member of the Pies, and I figured there would be A LOT of members in front of me. All I could do was cross my fingers and give it a crack.
My opportunity came up at 1pm. LOTS of nervous refreshing the Ticketek site. 1pm GO! As fast as my brain and fingers could work I was trying to buy. After some nervous site slowdown… success! A ticket to the Grand Final replay was mine! Not a great seat, but a seat nonetheless. I was off to my first Grand Final, with my club no less. Oh yeah.
As you can guess my week was all over the shop like everyone who likes their footy. At least non-teaching week afforded me the opportunity to visit Pies training again in the lead up. But my week was to get even more lucky and surreal.
Late Wednesday, while waiting for my mate James-o, I decided to check Twitter. Just posted was a tweet from the Pies saying that any member who had a Grand Final ticket and wanted to walk out on the MCG before the game, just message. “Why the hell not?” I thought. So off went my Twitter DM, but nothing came back for the rest of the day so I thought oh well, not to be, and didn’t think any more of it. Well, not until Thursday arvo.
Into my inbox arrives an e-mail from Collingwood saying hi and that as a member supporting the Pies at the Grand Final replay I could walk out onto the MCG before the game with 20 fellow members for a photo with them and the premiership cup to say thanks for the support. Crazy! I had no idea what it was all about when I tweeted, but it seemed someone was smiling on me (insert your favourite religious icon here). Not only was I supremely lucky to be able to go to a Pies Grand Final, but now I was going on the ground?! I was pretty stoked.
So I am feeling pretty good right now. I was a little bummed, I was going by myself to it all, but I would deal. I would be with my fellow Pies brothers and sisters. But given my sister is a big Pies supporter too, it would have been nice for her to come along. Cue a phone call from her on Friday.
“How are you getting to that game?” she asks. “Not sure, train I guess”, I reply. “Do you want me to pick you up?”. “Ummm…”, not really understanding her question. “I won tickets!!!” she exclaims. Holy crap. This week was getting even crazier. Turns out she won tickets through Toyota by dressing herself and Ella and Jake up and heading to her local Toyota dealership. I was now expecting the Pies to get flogged on Saturday… fearing we had used up ALL our good fortune.
So anyway, Saturday arrives, and in I rock with my sister and brother-in-law. A fly by the Westpac center, then off to the ground. On the way we picked up the footy record and the premiership cup pins to raise money for youth homelessness. After me buying a pin, then forking out for one for my sister too, it seemed we had ended up with an extra fiver in change. Not wanting to push our luck, and cause it would have been a low act anyway, I took the fiver back to the guy selling the pins. He was pretty chuffed we were honest (really, is that how bad society is?) and suggested that karma would smile on us. I didn’t tell him that Meagan and I had used up all our karma for the next 20 years… but we took his karma anyway 🙂
So Meagan and Matt picked up their tickets for their Toyota extravaganza, and I headed into the ground for my on-ground experience. I met with the AFL dude along with my fellow Pies supporters, and also the lucky Saints faithful, then under the ‘G into its bowels we went. As some of you saw my tweet we were taken to the Southern Stand change rooms to hang until our time in the sun came. It was going to be a fleeting time, but that was cool with me. So after the Saints fans got their time, out marched we Pies, into the glorious Melbourne sunshine. Oh man, that grass! I had thongs on, so took them off and felt that amazing grassy carpet between my toes. Now THAT is some lush grass! And man it is a big stadium. Out in the middle you are completely dwarfed by it.
We were hurried to the centre of the ground where we posed for our group photo, then urged to hurry back off. I tried to get a good snap of the cup, but we were asked to move on. But I did get to give Daisy Thomas some words of encouragement, and also a scowl to Nick Reiwoldt who was warming up. They were his only touches of the footy all day ha ha ha.
It was approaching 1pm, so to my seat I went. I knew my seat was pretty crappy, but man was it high up. 4th back row of the Olympic Stand. I felt a bit dizzy from the altitude. Or maybe that was the elation of being there. Probably a bit of both I am guessing. I didn’t care I was so high up, I was surrounded my Pies folk and was about to witness my first granny, with my team no less.
The pre-game “entertainment” came and went. Lionel Ritchie came and opened with “Hello”. What a bizzaro choice to open… it just confused me. Anyway, then he banged through the hits. What makes 2010 so strange now is that I can say I saw both Lionel Ritchie and Faith No More sing “Easy”. That is the definition of surreal.
Then we come to the game. Like the week before, there is nothing left to say about it that hasn’t been said or written already. I saw maybe the best piece of defensive work ever (Heath Shaw), another magic Alan Didak goal, the player who’s number I am tempted to get on my guernsey (Steele Sidebottom) and 3 and a half quarters of absolute domination. While I was nervous until about the 15 min mark of the last quarter I knew I was witnessing one of the most ferocious and dominant displays of footy in an grand final.
The post-game celebrations were loud and raucous at the game, but then low-key. My sister and I waxed lyrical on the way home about the awesomeness of the day and how fortunate we had been to not only get tickets but everything else that went with it.
It made me also think how crazy 2010 has been for me. Easily one of the most awesome years ever. I mean check out these highlights (in kind of order, subject to change on a whim…)
1. I got my PhD and am about to become Dr. Matt
2. I climbed Mt Fuji and saw sunrise on top
3. The Pies won the flag and I was there to see it (and got set foot on the hallowed turf no less)
4. I won a couple of teaching awards
5. I saw 2 of my fave bands EVER again, Pavement and Pixies, in the space of a couple weeks
That is a whole hand full of Aces right there. I consider myself pretty fortunate right about now.