Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cats v Dockers

Sunday, my birthday, was eventful for a few reasons. Sport Boy and I drove to Mandurah and caught the train from there, something I've been wanting to do for ages and well worth it as it turned out. We had stopped at the Caltex servo before Bunbury to buy a packet of chewie when the lady behind the counter said "Hello Marcus". It was Diane, the lady who gave me the Grand Final ticket in 2007! It was lovely to see her but sad to hear that her Mum had passed away recently after a brief battle with cancer. It was her Mum whose ticket I received because she had woken up sick on the day of the game and couldn't go.

We got off the train at West leederville and had to wait for The Heir to arrive so stepped into the Patisserie on the corner to get some lunch. Sport Boy ordered a pie and sauce. While we were waiting I noticed a group of three sitting at a table and the gentleman had a large number of Docker's badges on his hat so asked him if I could have a look at them. I explained my badge collecting as the reason I was interested and he said, "A friend of ours who died recently had a lot of the same badges, you might be able to have those if you want them". I was a little surprised but never one to be backward in coming forward I said I'd love to have them. By then Sport Boy's pie had arrived and I asked them if we could join them at the table to which they happily agreed.

The waitress forgot to bring the sauce so I went to the counter and got one of the little sauce dispensers that fold in half so you can squeeze the sauce out of the hole in the middle. For some reason it was very hard to open and I had to keep applying more and more pressure in an effort to get the sauce to flow. All of a sudden the immovable object was overcome by the irresistable force and sauce exploded everywhere, all over the pie, and the table, and the drinks and utensils and...... right into both Sport Boy and the lady's face! Right in the eye in fact! I couldn't believe it, there was a mix of pandemonium, panic, pain and pangs of laughter as we all tried to right the situation, grabbing serviettes to clean up the mess and trying to get the sauce out of Sport Boy's eye, and the lady Docker fan. There followed great laughter and much taunting and ribbing as they stirred me about my inability to open a sauce sachet, and rubbing it in as they each in turn easily managed the same feat when their food arrived!

Then the younger of the three said, "That's it, you're not getting the badges now!!" which set us all off laughing again. I was glad they took it in such good spirit considering the disturbance I'd caused to their pre-football lunch.

Finally The Heir arrived to rescue me from my embarrassment and we set off for the game. Birchy was waiting for us at the gate, I'd offered him my spare ticket when the kid from school I'd bought it for decided not to go.

He was pretty happy with the game because Freo took it right up to Geelong, leading at 1/4 time and drawing level at 3/4 time before the Cats class finally sank the gallant Dockers. Shannon Byrnes was the star, kicking 5 goals in a best on ground performance.

My enjoyment of the game was tempered a little by the obnoxious behaviour of three blokes sitting behind us who were LOUD, rude, critical, derisive and unpleasant to listen to. I finally couldn't stand it any more so I turned around and challenged their behaviour. You just know that was gonna be a popular move and they got stuck into me for having the audacity to turn around or criticise them! In fact, the sum total of their defense was "Turn around and shut up!"

I told them I didn't have a problem with them barracking, just the things they were saying and the swearing and obscenities in front of my son, not to mention all the other people sitting near them, including their own children. They were pretty aggro and I have to admit I thought they were going to clock me one but to their credit at least they didn't resort to physical violence, just verbal abuse. The Heir and Sport Boy both said later they thought one of them was going to hit me! I apologised to the bloke sitting next to me (pictured above) for causing a scene and he said "Not at all, you did well", he agreed that their behaviour was not acceptable, and another Freo fan sitting near them also gave me the thumbs up in support. It is not easy to confront people about their behaviour, nobody likes being told, and with alcohol in the mix it has the potential to be volatile. I could have just sat there and put up with it. But in the end I thought "why should I?" Why should someone be able to upset other people or ruin their experience by their obnoxious behaviour? And if no-one stands up to them they'll just keep doing it because people are intimidated or don't want to get involved. I don't like getting into these sort of situations but at times there seems to be a magnetic force drawing me into them! I wasn't rude or aggressive but nor did I back down from my stance against their anti-social behaviour, and in the end, although they continued to mutter and criticise me, they did actually tone it down a bit.

Football stirs up people's emotions, I know that only too well, but that doesn't mean that all decency and logic and reasonable standards of behaviour should be dispensed with just because you're at the footy. That's what I reckon anyway.

I was glad not to get beaten up on my birthday though!

The couple sitting next to me were over from Geelong for a holiday and had decided to go to the footy. When I told them about my upcoming trip to Melbourne with the kids they gave me their son's contact details as he works on the Synchrotron project in Melbourne and they suggested he would be happy to show the kids around while we're over there.

BTW, the most obnoxious of the three blokes I'm talking about is the one with the purple jacket in the very top right hand corner of the picture above. Hopefully he's not a friend, or a relative of yours!

Birchy and I had a laugh and a tussle after the game, reliving Cameron Ling's punch to the stomach of one of the Dockers when the game got a bit heated.

NB. Sport Boy has had the last two days off school with conjunctivitis. It suddenly occurred to me as I was writing this post that the sauce may have been the cause!!

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