Ever since my Dad first took me to an Australian Rules Football match when I was about 10, I have had a fascination with the game – a fascination that has been known to border on obsession at times. There have also been a number of times – generally more recently – when I have attempted to shake this fascination. But, like coffee’s rich aroma, the season starts again and sucks me back in every time. What is it I love about this game? It can be spectacular, rough, fast, intense, and for anyone – like myself – who supports the Fremantle Dockers, incredibly frustrating. This is a team that has made the finals once (and lost their only game) since their inception back in 1995. Half the competition makes the finals. It is a team of incredible talent and a propensity for choking. They have a reputation amongst their supporters for their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and they did it to us again last night in a situation that could only happen to the Dockers. After leading convincingly for the entire game and kicking with the wind in the last quarter, they gave away almost all of their lead. This got the crowd roaring so loud that the umpires didn’t hear the final siren ring and kept the game going just long enough after it should have stopped to allow the opposition to kick a point and draw the game. A debacle.
I was so confident that Freo would win that I put $15 on them to do so. In that space of time between the siren blowing and the point being kicked, a $30 win turned into a $15 loss. I would like to send the umpires a bill, but it was Fremantle who made the situation possible, coughing the game up when it was beyond reasonable doubt.
Why do I continue to support this team that frustrates me at every available opportunity? Maybe I see a lot of myself in them. I too can be frustrating, possessing much more potential than results would indicate; I too can get close to a target and then get sidetracked; I too identify as coming from Fremantle, a town where mediocrity is celebrated. And I can be unpredictable, innovative, enthusiastic, brilliant and endearing, and I guess that’s what keeps me fascinated by Freo. They may never reach great heights, but it’s sweet to watch them try.