Monday, 9 September 2013

Quintessential Melbourne afternoon - at the footy!

Yesterday I went to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to savour my first experience of attending a live AFL finals match.  My team, the Richmond Tigers had made it to the finals for the first time since 2001 and were playing Carlton.  The Tigers fans were out in force, highly visible in the distinctive yellow and black.

My first challenge was getting to my seat.  With my injured knee, this was quite a feat.  We took the lift to level four and showed our tickets to a man.  He looked at them and shook his head.

The ticket
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"Oh well.  Now.  That's quite a long way up.  Yes it is. You'll have to just keep on going.  And be very careful on those steps.  I can't get up them myself. Very hard. Good luck." He spoke in a monotone, eyes darting.  I was afraid.

I have a dicky knee and I'm afraid of heights. I'm still recovering from the George Michael concert where I was seated right up the top of Etihad Stadium.

In case you need help working it up, row FF is 32 rows up and the only way to get there is the climb the stairs which are almost like a ladder.  I went slowly.  Going up stairs is actually almost back to normal; going down is harder. The sherpa we had booked hadn't turned up and my oxygen tank wouldn't fit in my handbag.

We reached our seats without mishap and this is what we saw.  We were a long way up which meant we could see the whole game, but had to look at the screen to admire the players' deltoids.

MCG crowd - over 96,000 fans attended
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Across the other side - that's the suburb of Richmond in the background.
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Now that I was in my seat, I was not going to leave until it was home time.

Work in progress - trying the beanie on to get the right amount of "slouch".
 I didn't wear it with the needles in!
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The atmosphere was incredible and I was relieved that I had put the effort into finishing my beanie and made some yellow and black pom poms over my breakfast. Beanies don't really suit me, but as my friend pointed out, that's not really why you wear them.

Plaits and pom poms...go Tigers!
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We had a devoted Tigers fan sitting behind us.  I can't for the life of me work out why he isn't the Richmond coach.  He certainly had a view about everything and said it loudly enough for the team to hear.  Even during the first half where we were playing well he was plaintive in his cries for the team to "Help him", "Man up" and play "hard ball".  Not much time would pass between "well done" and "oh, you idiot!"  Although as we moved into the second half and Richmond seemed to give up, "oh, you idiot!" seemed like an appropriate statement.

As the loss became inevitable, emotions started to show.  Tiny tigers decked out in their gear were inconsolable.  The strains of "We are the navy blue" was an assault on the ears when all I wanted was "Oh we're from Tiger land!"  One row in front of me a full grown man with red hair cut into one of those strange faux hawk/mullet styles and wearing a daffodil yellow onesie started to cry.  I don't know if it was the result of the game or the realisation about what he was wearing and that he wearing it outside the house that warranted such emotion.

As I slowly made my way to the bottom again, the suggestions about "next year" were already being heard.

Oh we're from Tiger land! Tiger girls waiting to get inside the 'G
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Until next year!

Were you there?  How was your afternoon?

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