Blog will be in two parts.
Part 1 – Pre-game warm up
Part 2 - the aftermath
PART 1 - Pre-Game
Flight #218 to Delhi left Chennai about an hour ago. The in flight dining isn't much to write home about. A chicken sandwich and a warm cup of water. No Pillows on this flight, no Business Class and an obvious lack of underarm deodorant on the fellow next to me. I am more than happy putting up with the smells and poor tastes that this flight offers.
Tomorrow brings a new day - It brings AFL Grand Final Day! My team (Hawthorn) is playing the mighty Cats. Let me take you back to 1989..
It’s a cold winters morning, and I’m on a train bound for Huonville. That train is my dad's old 78' Ford F500 - A huge big brown station wagon. Not sure how he ever reversed parked it; this thing was as long as Tim MacDonald’s run up. 34.5 savoury rolls.. I mean metres.We are on our way down to Huonville to watch the VFL Granny with one of Dad's mates - Big Pete Slattery - The Hawks are coasting it in at half time with a margin close to 50 points. Both Dad and my Brother are huge Geelong supporters. So being the little smarty bum that I was (still am) I took some bets from the two of them. $5 with my Dad, $2.50 with my brother. Having just turned 7.. I was going to be filthy rich!Of course the Cats came screaming home in a hurry. The good lord himself jagged 9 of the greatest goals in footy finals history, but it wasn't enough to stop young chap with the frullet (front mullet) collecting $7.50 from an inconsolable pair of Cats fans. That $7.50 put some pretty flash bling on my new bike. A basket with a very pretty flower on the front and some wicked as stunt pegs. Unfortunately I didn't have enough for a proper clicker to put in my spokes, so I had to make do with an old Steven Febey playing card..
This was the beginning of my love affair with the Hawks.
My trip to Delhi has come about or a few reasons. Had I returned home with my fellow Tigers teammates from our recent tour of India with the Australia A team; I would have missed the Grand Final. We were set to board a flight to Melbourne from Dubai at 10 10am - 2 30pm Melbourne time - Right on the first bounce!! So I would have been in the air for 14 hours not knowing if the Hawks had won. Any passionate supporter would do the same thing. The other reason; The Australian Consulate in Delhi is having an AFL day where you can buy Heineken cans and a meat pie for $2.50.I know, Heineken is a very non-Aussie beer, and not a patch on our home brew Cascade - But it's mighty tasty at 2 bucks a pop.
PART 2 - The Aftermath
History tells us the Hawks came out on top in the 2008 Grand Final. History also tells us that Luke Hodge won the Norm Smith Medal, with 28 broken ribs, four broken bones in his feet and a chipped fingernail.. History will also say that if you put 50 Australians in a room with flowing beer and the odd meat pie, everyone will have a great day!! Doesn't matter where in the world you are.It is quite hard to explain how happy I was when the final siren blew and my team was triumphant. I grabbed the guy next to me and squeezed him as hard as I could, yelling "You Beauty" (expletives left out). The expletives actually came from the guy I had grabbed. In that moment of madness I had missed the blue and white scarf he had on!! Um, sorry mate.
After the footy had finished and the chant of "who ate all the pies?" was dying off. (I was in the toilets scrubbing the sauce off my new shirt when this chant was on.. Who do you reckon ate the Pies?) My new friends and I made our way to a local pub in Delhi. Quite amazingly, three of them were Tasmanians and two of them played footy with Big Griffo during his playing days in the local Launnie League. We sat around talking about how good the Hawks were, I acted out every possession my boy Stuey "I love pies, big bags of cheese twisties polished off with a 1.5 litre bottle of Mountain Dew" collected, and the other boys told me stories of 'The Big Mans" dominance on and off the field for Old Scotch. Turns out Big collected a truck load of stats up in Launnie. Who would have thought?Can I quickly thank Stuey Dew for helping the cause of all athletes with skin folds of over 80.. You the man and I love you... in a really manly gruff way!!
As Dean Jones says on his 1996 released VHS "One Day Wizard"? "Deanos Magic"? (please don't sue me Dean Jones) - "I HAD A DAY OUT!!". WOW what a day. Thanks to everyone who was there and made my day the most memorable Grand Final ever.
If you've opened this blog hoping for cricket related banter.. I apologise. I promise that the next blog will have atleast one paragraph of cricket talk.
Until then, stay cool, stay clean and stay focused.