Driftin’ Away and Blaming Rich

‘Don’t buy it Rich. Don’t buy it! Why would you want something that big???’ would have been my advice, except he never asked for it. Naturally he wouldn’t consult with me – why should he? But I’ll blame him any way. With that purchase of his and his lovely wife Shan’s, the dye was well and truly cast.

I am the direct opposite to you Monica Dux, the direct opposite. But it’s waning, dear me, it’s waning.

My beautiful Leigh is the love of my life and sharing an abode with her here by the river is pure bliss. She is many things to me, almost everything. But one aspect of life we do not share, to any degree, is a passion for the native game. She is not a footy person and I respect that, just as she respects my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to stage musicals, which I find, to quote Monica ‘….silly, nonsensical and boring’ (unless rock music is attached). I do admire, though, women with a passion for Aussie rules, like my dear friends Steph, with her devotion to Essendon and Laurel, the Cats.

I hasten to add that Leigh doesn’t actually hate the game – she’s just ambivalent to it. She’ll watch a bit of pre-game carry-on with me, or maybe enjoy a bit of the repartee on ‘Footy Classified’, but as for actually watching a game she’s not interested, just as I wouldn’t be sitting with her through ‘The Sound of Music’ or ‘Cats’ in any way, shape or form. Nor would I expect her to give up pole position in the lounge room so I can watch the footy in the main arena and send her off to watch ‘Big Bang Theory’ in another room. In the past it’s been my practice to do that – to take myself off to the small screen in the spare room. Once upon a time I was perfectly happy to do so, but not anymore. And so now I am worried, that in the digital age, I’m driftin’ away, bit by bit, driftin’ away. It seems I’m doing the same with AFL as I once did with cricket. If passion for a sport is measured by viewing hours – well, I’m almost gone.

There are reasons for it – and not one is to do with the state of the game, so bandied about in the media. I dispute the claim that the style of play these days makes it less of a visual attraction. With footy, you won’t hear me saying it was so much better back in the day

So the first reason for my slow drift away has already been alluded to. I just enjoy my lady’s company – simple as that. Watching a show together, tucked up in the lounge room, is just so pleasurable. We can discuss our shows, often including testing ourselves as to exactly who is that actor we know we know but just cannot place. Then there’s her delightful habit of disputing the way certain medical procedures are done and I’m blessed with her perceptiveness in finding holes in the story that I always miss, especially when it comes to continuity. And as I watch and engage with her, I am able, all the while, to sit in comfort on our new sofa with a device in my hand that keeps tabs on the scores, be it from the summer or winter game. Perhaps the sofa, too, is a cause of the issue in itself.

Another reason is that we are in the midst of a golden age of television, or so we are repeatedly told. And I wouldn’t demur from that conclusion. So many platforms now that we have added Netflix and Stan; so many excellent series that these days movies on the small screen do not get a look in. Given the choice between watching the Gold Coast play Carlton or Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons taking on the world in Game of Thrones, it’s no contest for me. Which would you choose?

And the ads. OMG the ads. After every goal, every single one – and often there are two in succession shouting at you to buy wood-fired heaters or bargains at Hardly Normal. They drive me, especially when a team has a run on or it’s getting towards the end in a tight one, bananas. Just ruins the flow, detracts immensely from the spectacle. I know I could go ad free for a not expensive amount, but it’s hardly worth it given, yes, I’m inexorably driftin’ away.

Maybe, just maybe, a factor could be that I am totally sated. My cup has runneth over supporting the Hawks, they at least having given me one, if not more, premierships in all the decades of my life since the Sixties. What more could a follower ask of his/her team? The Doggies winning in ’16 and the Tigers last year, because they’re both such great stories, gave me perhaps as much, if not even more, pleasure than if Hawthorn had emerged victorious in the final dance again.

I’ll never, ever become Ms Dux in my attitude to the sport. I still relish reading about a Hawthorn victory in the Age and the opinions of its columnists on footy matters, especially now with Robert Murphy back in the fold. I could still hold my own in any conversation about the weekend’s results. But, increasingly, it’s becoming a smaller and smaller part of my life.

And lastly, I blame you Richard Lovell. That big screen television of yours and Shan’s, that I get all to myself when I’m house/Memphis sitting whilst you both are somewhere sunny, is a trap. And up at Bridport, last weekend, I watched a whole game for the first time this season – the Swans v West Coast – and I almost swooned with the ecstasy of it. It was a terrific contest – imagine how crabby I was the following Sunday when I fired it up to watch the Tigers/Geelong match up only to find, bless their hearts, it wasn’t on Southern Cross! Now going from that to the little screen in the spare room just doesn’t cut it. And whereas the giant screen is perfectly at home in your spacious abode, Rich, it would indeed look ridiculous in ours. What we have, for me, is just fine – but, at home, I’ll simply be driftin’ away.

Monica Dux’s column = https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/carn-the-phantom-why-its-time-for-musical-theatre-to-outscore-afl-20180518-h10822.html

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