I’m Sorry …. The Story of a Jinxed Footy Team!

My footy team have been going through a rebuilding stage for quite a few years now.  Oh, I remember those wonderful years when every other team in the AFL was scared to come to our home ground, where the opposition players & coaches would focus on the Brisbane Lions games, as games to be feared and suffered.  Oh, I remember the horror years too – the bad news Bears, the Carrara crashes, the previous coaches & their rebuilds. But none of that was I responsible for ….. this time it’s different!

Having been a follower and supporter of VFL/AFL since my arrival in Australia from New Zealand in 1981, and an attendee at games since the foundation of the Brisbane Bears in 1987 and a member of the Brisbane Lions since the merge with Fitzroy in 1996 – some might call me a fanatic!

I remember packing up the food bag for our 3 boys and making our way to Carrara or the Gabba.  I remember kick to kick after the games, where brotherly love was pushed and tested and all our boys learned to go hard at the ball – no matter how big or drunk the opposition was!!  I remember the guernsey changes, the coach changes and the rule changes.

I remember the first trip to the hallowed MCG, by bus due to an airline collapse, for the first Lions Premiership in 2001.  The party after, the long but happy bus trip home again, just 4 or so hours after the final whistle.  I remember the back to back premierships in 2001 & 2002.  I remember the 3peat in 2001, 2002 & 2003!   And I also remember the devastating loss of the 2004 Grand Final to Port Adelaide.

Homemade Premiership Flag with all the signatures of all the players to play in the 3 apremiership 2001, 2002 & 2003
Homemade Premiership Flag with all the signatures of all the players to play in the 3 premierships  2001, 2002 & 2003

I have ridden the ups and downs and have remained loyal but now, after looking back over the terrible last few years …. I suddenly realise that I might have been responsible for the terrible losses and injuries of the last few sessions – maybe forever!

One of my fondest memories of junior footy was when each Brisbane Junior Club was assigned a Brisbane Lion as “their” player.  We got Justin Leppitsch, a young footballer yet to have a game.  He was great for the kids and I remember bringing him a sausage from the barbie and having a chat.  Silly, silly me!  The next time I saw him, he was still to play a game but was on crutches after a full knee reconstruction!  I’m sorry Leppa …. if I had known what was to come, I would never have given you that sausage!!!  Leppa is now (25 years plus later) the Brisbane Lions senior coach and the team has an injury list as long as my arm.   My fault, I’m sure!

Leppa the early years!
leppa the coach
Leppa the Coach!

That my friends is only the beginning….

Over the last few years due to poor health, my attendance at games has been sporadic.  I began to notice that when I did attend, I didn’t seem to be getting to sing the team song after a victory as often as I was used to.  I then realised that I didn’t get to sing the song for 2 whole years – which means that every time I attended a game the Lions lost!  They were still singing it when I was home sick and they had a win, also it was sung when they had an away win but not when I was there!!

Then 2 years ago, I joined a footy tipping competition at work and the slide really began.  If I tipped the Lions to win – they lost!  So it had moved on from just when I saw them live.  They could be playing a side they really should beat but if I tipped them, they lost.  They also won the occasional game that they should not have – but always when I wasn’t there or had not tipped them.

My fellow members and friends are now questioning as to whether I should attend games, ever again!  They say they don’t mean it but I see the look in their eyes ….. People are now checking to see if I will be at a game before they attend – this weeks attendance was only 16,000  and yes I was one of them.  They call me to find out who I have tipped before putting in their tips.  I am at my wit’s end.  I want my team to win and be injury free so I am doing the only thing I can think of.

STATEMENT of APOLOGY:

I, Mandy Weber, do formally apologise to the Brisbane Lions and all their supporter’s for stuffing up their lives!

To Leppa – once again – I should never have  given you that sausage all those years ago.  You have my permission to use me as an excuse for any loss or injury from this day forward and you may also use me retrospectively – if necessary!  I am sorry!

To the Board – you have a new excuse for low attendance. The Paddle Pop Lion was obviously my fault, as was the Fevola debacle!  I am sorry!

To my friends and family, who attend the games with me – I have nothing to say but sorry!

To little Charlie, who is the only person to love Bernie “Gabba” Vegas – I’m sorry but I seemed to have scared him away too!!  Hopefully, you will learn to love Roy and Brion soon.

To the Women of the Pride, of which I am a foundation member, I have yet to attend a get together, as I would love the group to be an amazing success!!

Sorry!  Sorry!  Sorry!

Bernie & Charlie
Bernie and Charlie.    Bernie “Gabba” Vegas was much scarier close up!!

Now that’s out-of-the-way.

Go the Lions!

And I’ll see you all at the Gabba –  next home game!

Mandy the Fan!

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After the Game.

Monday Morning Postscript:

The game has been played and won by the Aussies.  The Black Caps caught Australia on a day when they lifted their game to the highest level – they had no answer for the Aussie bowling attack.  Both sides wanted to win – desperately,  one fell short while the other didn’t.  Both Captains praised the opposing team for their play during the six-week tournament and both were extremely proud of their own ‘boys’.

I refuse to get caught up in the sledging/send off  furore (that is raging on social media & to a lesser extent in mainstream media)  other than to say, there are different sporting cultures in these two neighbouring nations.  Each culture suits the nation that has embraced it.  Neither will be convinced by the other’s stance, as each feels strongly, that their way is the better way to win!  Sometimes the Aussie way looks ugly and sometimes the Kiwi way looks weak, to the other nation across the ditch.  Sometimes it is ugly and sometimes it is weak!

Clarke & McCullum 2

Michael Clarke was not my favourite cricketer before this year.  I feel differently about him these days.  How wrong of me to judge his character from media snippets and huge assumptions on my part?  With the burden of the death of his “little brother” Phillip Hughes and the constant threat of career ending injury, he captained his country to a World Cup Final win.  He did it with his bat and his captaincy – in aggressive field setting & clever use of his bowlers.  And all the while, he did it with a black arm band with the initials PH written on it.  By carrying Phillip Hughes on his arm and in his heart, he reassured nervous parents that cricket is a great game to play and friendships made on the field can and do stay with you forever.  I remember my Dad, who passed away over 8 years ago, saying what a wonderful young cricketer Michael Clarke was and would be.  And that he would make a great Australian Captain!  He was right, my Dad!  After the year he has endured, Michael Clarke deserved to retire from One Day cricket with a great win and a great celebration!

michael-clarke

I hope the cousin banter across the ditch by text was not too savage.  I suspect it may have been!  But I’m sure it was expected and accepted, as it had been on that fateful day at Eden Park just over a month ago.

Lastly, yes, Shane Warne proved himself to be a dinosaur.  His interviews were embarrassing and inappropriate ….. but I did call it before the game!

Team win

Sheep Stations – The Final!

The day that we all hoped for has arrived.  Australia (Aussie) plays New Zealand (the Black Caps) in the World Cup of Cricket, in the final!  It’s the match that all the Aussies have been waiting for since that fateful day earlier in the tournament at Eden Park.  Because this time the match will be played at that Australian cauldron – the mighty MCG!

Australia-Cricket-Team-2015

new-zealand_650_012115100700 Now there are all sorts of reasons that each country thinks that their team will win – the Black Caps are unbeaten in the tournament but this will be the first game played outside their home country; the size of the ground should be on the Aussie side because the Black Caps haven’t played on the MCG for 6 years; the Aussies have got Davey Warner but the Black Caps have got  Martin Guptill; the Black Caps have got in form bowlers Boult & Southee but Aussie has got the vicious Mitch’s – Starc & Johnson; the Black Caps have got the extraordinary Baz McCullum as their captain and the Aussie’s have the amazing Captain, Pup Clarke, who has announced that this will be his last game in this format!

And then there is the X Factor in each team.  The non – playing 12th men for each team.

For the Aussies, the memory of a long hard season that began with the tragic death, on the cricket field, of their much-loved mate Phillip Hughes.  They will want to complete this season with a win for their country, themselves and their little mate.

For the Black Caps, the very public battle of the former New Zealand captain, Martin Crowe, who has been mentor to so many of the batsmen in the team. His column written for espncricinfo was nothing short of gut wrenchingly beautiful.  They will want to win for their country, themselves and their great mentor.

So, I have to make a decision on which side of the family fence I will settle on!  That is a very complicated thing to do for the following reasons.

  1. My mother was born in Australia but my father was born in New Zealand.
  2. My mother has lived in NZ for three times  as long as she lived in Australia and is a one-eyed Black Cap supporter.
  3. I was born in NZ but I married an Australian and have lived in Australia ten years longer than I lived in NZ.
  4. I have three Australian sons that support the NZ rugby team – as do I.
  5. My sister & her hubby lived in Australia for around five or so years, during which time they produced a son that was born in Australia but has a Silver Fern tattooed on his shoulder.
  6. I know this means the world to my homeland of NZ, having never even made the final before.  With special mention to my nephew and his mates, known as The Troopers, who attended every Black Cap game in the competition but could not make it to Melbourne for the final.

The Troopers

I could go on and on forever but I have decided to go for my home for 30+ years and support Australia!

I will not be sad if the Black Caps win.  The two best sides are playing attacking, aggressive cricket which is a delight to watch.  It will hopefully be competitive right down to the last over.  I hope it is so close that my mother, brother-in-law & brother all need to walk away from their TV’s at some point because they can’t bear to watch.

There is only one thing that could destroy it for me and that is Shane Warne’s commentary.  Let it go, Warnie!  Let it go!