Football Season has started here. Torn hamstrings and two-week suspensions have taken over the news bulletins. Sigh.
Time to confess that I have never much been a football fan – not of the round ball, and despite living in a football mad city, not even Aussie Rules. I just don’t like watching blokes bowl each other over and I really don’t like the blokesy nature of football clubs. My LEAST favourite program on TV is ‘The Footy Show’. Puke.
I have also not much been a fan of footballers. I have long had the general feeling that they are overpaid, arrogant and not particularly good role models.
However, in recent times, I’ve seen a different side. There have been AFL footballers at the Longest Cake event both years we’ve attended. This year we met a player from my aunt’s favourite team so we could get his autograph for her. He was polite and friendly and had a good little chat with BC.
And following the recent bushfires here and then at the annual ‘Good Friday Appeal’ to raise money for our city children’s hospital, there were lots of moving shots of kids meeting their football heroes. Kind of got me thinking. Maybe I’ve been a little unfair.
And then, just today, I came across this lovely video featuring English footballer Phil Neville talking about his daughter who has cerebral palsy. I found it really moving.
In light of all this evidence to the contrary of my long held opinions, AND as a mother of boys and wife to a soccer mad husband, I have finally decided I better get used to football being around so I have even picked a team in the AFL to support this year (go the Bulldogs!).
I chose the team for 2 reasons. Firstly because the team nearly went under about ten years ago and was saved by the working class community around it who fought tooth and nail to keep their club alive. I like that the team has such spirit behind it.
And then because I read this article about one of their player’s last year who is step-father to a little girl with CP. He seems like a good bloke. Yes. Another one. And yes, I am starting to realise I’ve been very unfair to the Footballer, falling into the trap of accepting a stereotype. Not any more. I’m giving the game and the footballers another go.
BC has decided to join me. We don’t really understand the rules, but we watched the game together on TV on the weekend. We learnt a few of the players names and BC decided he liked the colourful player number 21. I googled him and his name is Jason Akermanis. And he’s fluent in Auslan so he can communicate with his deaf inlaws. Yep. Stereotype is out the window now. For sure.
I still had to wince at the roughness of the game but I actually enjoyed it and I think BC did too. Especially because they won ;-).
You never know, we might even go along and watch a game later in the season. Although that will probably have to wait until next year. I think I have to take this just one step at a time…