Sunday, 24 April 2005

Stranger in a strange land

This report is coming to you courtesy of some dubious internet cafe in a suburb of Sydney that could be right next door to Dubbo for all I know. No idea where I am but there's a lot of pissed people wandering about.

Anyway the story of today, and if we're lucky the headline of tomorrow was: We came, we saw, we FUCKED THEM RIGHT UP. What a night in Sydney. So much drama, so many moments of rage and frustration.

There's not much to post about in the lead up - I woke at 4.30am, caught a flight that made my ear explode in the sort of pain I understand you'd suffer if you got stabbed repeatedly in the ear with a red hot screwdriver and piss-farted around the city for hours. Momentary chance meetings with Melbourne fans aside there was nothing wild enough to deserve posting.

I arrived at the SCG, watched the first half of the Wests/Parramatta NRL debacle in the TAB and then took up my rightful place under the scoreboard - where you can always see people going wild where a goal is kicked in the last quarter - and waited. As previously stated on here I've never travelled and seen one of my teams win. The count was two South Melbourne soccer loses and one each for Melbourne and Wests Tigers before tonight. Despite my piece of shit manouevre in tipping the Swans JUST in case I had confidence. When I looked up and saw Brad Miller lining up on Barry Hall my eyebrow may have lifted a little, but in the end it turned out to be a nice matchup.

We kicked the first three goals and it soon became apparent that I was sitting in the mother of all crowd spit-roasts. In front of me were the three teenage boys who didn't know who any of the players were and had the irriating habit of yelling "INTENTIONAL" every time the ball went out of bounds. Behind me were the stereotypical "clueless family" who not only didn't know who our players are, which is understandable even if they called Adem Yze "Adem Yoozie", but didn't know their own either. Now I'm not insinuating that the Swans fans aren't knowledgeable about the game, indeed it appeared that large chunks of the stadium were yelling and going ape at the appropriate moments, but I apparently had the misfortune of being sandwiched between about 15 people who didn't know what they were doing. The father figure of the Shambles Family behind me would constantly talk to himself and say things like "It's a goal! Oh no it's not" and then laugh in a manner absolutely 100% identical to that of Doctor Hibbert in the Simpsons. His wife and daughter effectively wrote the side off five minutes in the first quarter and just sat there questioning what was going on for the rest of it. "Why is that a free kick?" "WHAT A GOAL.. oh it's a point", "Is that a goal?" as the backmen are kicking out etc..

At this point I should mention that I have a love/hate relationship with people like the Shambles Family. I don't expect anybody to be an expert on the game - we all had to start somewhere after all. I don't expect them to know who our players are - if you put the Sydney Swans and the Montmorency Reserves in a line and ask me to arrange them into their correct sides I'd probably be an utter disgrace too. If they're jumping on the Swans bandwagon I suppose you can't even expect them to know who their players are either, but four quarters of "who's number 30?" directly into your right ear is enough to turn anyone into a homicidal maniac. The most infuriating thing about these people is that they don't take the game seriously enough for you to really rub it in when you knock them over. Same goes for the little shits in front, deep down they didn't care. It's like a night out at the opera to these people. How are you supposed to really hammer them? You can't, and maybe that's where the feud comes from. These people always leave you with unfinished business at the end of the night. They annoy the shit out of you for four quarters but were you to turn around and give them the mother of all sprays at the final whistle and direct a special version of the theme song with 10x more swearing directly into their faces they wouldn't even flinch.

More wonderful crowd behaviour from the knob sitting behind me who kept yelling out "Neitz! You're a bald wanker!", and was almost certainly the dumbfuck who yelled "Who's the coon playing on Barry?" The sad thing? There were actually sniggers for the racist slur. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK ADAM GOODES AND MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN ARE THEN YOU CUNTS? I would have liked to go crazy about but I was on my own in the middle of a baying pack and the Irish woman sitting next to me was sinking bourbon and cokes at a rate so rapid I feared she'd die of alcohol poisoning in front of our eyes. Eventually, as the Swans started to hit back late in the third quarter I snapped and let rip. Sadly I messed it up. When you abuse somebody at a football match it's very important to choose your words correctly. I failed, but at the same time I succeeded.

Bogan: "YOU'RE A BALD WANKER NEITZ!"
Adam: "HOW MUCH HAIR HAS BARRY HALL GOT? WHAT DOES THAT MAKE HIM YOU FUCKSTICK?"

Silence. But I could tell my accidental slip into an insult that is best suited to the school playground had wounded me. Had I gone with fuckwit, cockhead, motherfucker or just the plain old fashioned IDIOT I might have got some support. Alas it was not to be. But Neitz was never taunted for his bald bonce again. And as somebody, possibly the same wank, yelled out "YOU SHOULD HAVE MERGED WITH HAWTHORN" I almost died. I don't expect any of them to have been there before 1996 but I'd at least expect that they understand that their club relocated once in 1982, almost went out of business in '87 and then were only saved from extinction by the AFL tipping a fortune in after the '92 season. But no, 29000 turn up to the SCG and suddenly they're league powerhouses. I could never have gotten the point of that argument over in a finger pointing and yelling scenario so I just bit my tongue. Sadly Mr. Shambles didn't and he just "HYUK HYUK"ed it up for the rest of the game.

So Russell Robertson took the mark of the year, Sydney sprayed shots left right and centre, Aaron Davey's pinpoint snap sealed the game and at the final siren I just leapt over seats and ran down towards the Melbourne massive in front of me. Sadly for some old Sydney man the song started just at the wrong time and he got a rousing "IT'S A GRAND OLD FLAG" in the ear. Another unbridled passion hall of fame moment.

More intimate details when I'm back in Melbourne. For now I have to find something to do until my 6.15am flight. Bizarrely enough as I walked past somebody earlier in the night they said "Is that Nick Daffy?" Now I look nothing like Nick Daffy but I'm flattered to be confused with celebrity, no matter how minor.

UPDATE - This place is starting to get tedious. What did I expect to do for seven hours after the game when I've lost the will to drink heavily? If I'd known at the time of booking my flights that Sydney Airport doesn't actually open until a certain time of the morning I think it's fair to say that I wouldn't have made the same plans.

From the mystery suburb I ended up at Star City where I said goodbye to my money in rapid fashion and then just randomly started walking. Somehow I ended up in the Compton section of Darling Harbour where I saw a woman violently puking, two guys smoking a cigarette that was NOT from the Benson and/or Hedges Family and a man performing what was possibly an indecent and offensive act on a woman in some bushes. I'd have given him a round of applause but I fear reprisals.

On that note I've been hanging out for one of these drive by shootings that's supposed to be all the rage here but so far there's been nothing. Disappointing. I think I'll just wait here for another couple of hours, the view is quite nice and I simply cannot walk any further.

UPDATE 2 - I did the votes, but they got wiped somehow.

5 - McLean
4 - Rivers
3 - Miller
2 - Johnstone
1 - Yze

-10 for the Shambles family.

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