Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Cakewalk

Good old Collingwood forever,
They know how to play the game,
Side by side they stick together
To uphold the Magpies' name.
Hear the barrackers shouting,
As all barrackers should,
Oh, the Premiership's a cakewalk
For good old Collingwood.

OK. The rhyme may be a bit off. I can live with "forever" and "together" but "shouting" and "cakewalk"? I think the writer just gave up. And this may be the only 8-line song in history that has the word "barrackers" twice - and at least the poet had enough sense not to try to rhyme that word.

Nonetheless, the old English teacher in me can't help but suggest that it would all rhyme perfectly if they made the last 4 lines:

Hear all the barrackers squawk,
As all barrackers should,
Oh, the Premiership's a cakewalk
For good old Collingwood.

But I'm not 100% sure the barrackers (that's "fans" for you Yanks) would want to sing a song about them squawking. It will be easy enough to find out, because the Magpies would have no greater barrackers than Wally and Judy who spent the weekend with us.

It was a glorious weekend for them, and the Collingwood song was sung in our house (as throughout the land) with gusto and more than a few tears in the eye.  The Magpies won the AFL championship with a resounding victory. After barely surviving to fight again after last week's drawn match, in yesterday's replay they attacked with gusto and ran away with a 108-52 victory. And for those Yanks who aren't all that sure about the scoring, let me just say that this is a massively lopsided victory - as the song says, a cakewalk.

Last week's match was tight and tense - a real nail biter. You would think that by contrast yesterday's blowout would be boring and uninteresting once the rout set in. Normally that might be correct, but yesterday our little Tassie home turned into Magpie HQ South, and it was a raucous, rowdy very loud crowd that cheered every Collingwood score or defensive gem.

The funny thing is that this was a very small crowd - in fact the smallest allowed under the rules of what constitutes a crowd. (Rule 19b: Two's company; three's a crowd.) In fact, whenever one of us had to leave to go to the loo, we technically became a company for those few minutes.

Our enthusiasm more than compensated for the size of our crowd. Wally and Judy brought their Grand Final party to Kingston Beach for the day. They are such sweet people. I know they would have loved being with diehard Magpie supporters and celebrate such a sweet victory with the others who have loyally waited 20 years to wave the Premiership banner again.

But when the match ended in a tie last week, they didn't change their plans to visit us although we would have fully understood if they wanted to set a different date. Instead they packed the banners, the balloons, the shirts and the caps and decided that they would have a Grand Final party even if it was just me and them. (LK has a sports allergy and has to stay away from such events under advice of her physician.)

And it wasn't just decorations. Judy made a cheese and snack tray; we put out chips and dip and more chips and salsa. There was enough food for the 20 or 30 they would have had at their party had they been home. Wally and I compensated by drinking as many cans of beer as 20 or 30 people might be expected to.

And at the end of the game, Judy and Wally stood saluting their champions. They sang the team song. Judy wiped a tear from her eye, and I could swear Wally's eyes looked just a bit moist as well.

As for me, it was a real privilege to share such a special moment with these two great people. Hey, I was so moved I didn't even suggest to them that their team symbol looks an awful lot like Heckel or Jeckel if they had started doing steroids.

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