It’s a Sunday morning, and my husband and I are about to embark on a very important conversation: what footy team our children will support. We don’t have children. I’m not even pregnant. But the topic is so important that I believe it needs to be covered early to avoid any future altercations.
Aussie Rules Football is the only sport that I can watch for more than ten minutes without wanting to stab myself in the eye with a fork. I love the game so much that when we were allowed to study a poem of our choice in English Literature, I chose Bruce Dawe’s ‘Life Cycle’, which cleverly compares the worship of a footy team to religious worship (a belief that didn’t go down so well at my Catholic high school). Growing up, while my friends had pictures of Hanson and Aaron Carter on their walls, mine were smothered with newspaper clippings of my cherished team the Adelaide Crows (I did have one Gary Barlow poster I’d gotten for free in a CD single, but this was quickly covered up by pictures of my hero Tony Modra).
Ever since I first learned that football existed I have been a Crows supporter, although it took my three year old self a long time to be convinced that they were the Camry Crows and not the ‘Cadbury’ Crows. Through their tough times and their spectacular victories (we are the only team to have won every grand final we have played in: FACT!), I have loyally supported the red, blue and yellow alongside my dad.
Given how much I love the Adelaide Crows, I believe that our currently hypothetical children should follow suit. My husband, an ambivalent West Coast Eagles supporter who constantly forgets to put in his footy tips and doesn’t know the words to his team’s song, believes otherwise.
‘We live in Western Australia. They should go for a local team so they won’t be teased at school. Remember?’ He is referring to a story that still nearly reduces my parents to tears. Growing up in Melbourne, I was the only Crows supporter (i.e. person with taste) in the entire school. That meant that on ‘Football Day’ (when we had to dress up in our team’s colours) I was the only child skipping around the oval when it was Adelaide’s turn for their parade. It also meant that I, a tiny four year old in a hand-me-down Crows scarf, had to keep my head held high as I was booed and jeered at by the entire school.
‘Supporting a non-local team builds resilience’ I argue, and shudder at the thought that my children might ever support the Eagles. The Dockers I could probably forgive (they have that underdog appeal and Tony Modra once played for them), but the Eagles? No way.
‘Then they should be allowed to choose their own team’ he tries again, laughing at how seriously I am taking this discussion. Once again, his idea seems ridiculous. As one of my dear friends (a one-eyed Collingwood supporter) once told me: ‘Parents choose the first name. Parents choose the footy team.’
‘What if they choose badly? Look at my sister for god’s sake!’ Left to her own devices, my sister chose to support Essendon, a team with one recent grand final win and a massive doping scandal to their name. A poor life choice if I do say so myself.
Clearly not giving the discussion the gravitas it deserves, my husband goes to do the dishes. I follow him doggedly.
‘Fine. I’ll make a deal with you. The kids can support local teams if they want.’
‘But only if all of our daughters can be named Adelaide.’
He ignores me, but I choose to take his silence as another stunning victory for the Crows.