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Learning to live in the moment, with a bit of help from the footy

‘The moon’s a harsh mistress’ sang the inimitable Joe Cocker. So is sport, which might be one reason sport and I have never exactly been intimate. Sport is a capricious and unreliable love, a heart-breaker, at least if you barrack for the Melbourne Football Club.

My beloved started going for the Dees when he was eight; they were the dominant VFL club and had won three premierships in six years. Since those heady days, however, there has been barely a sniff of success. Last time they made the magic ‘final eight’ was in 2006. As current captain Nathan Jones put it recently, ‘They [our supporters] have had twelve years of misery’.

And now, at last, Melbourne not only made it into the finals, but, to the surprise of many, won their first final against Geelong.

We were there, soaking up the electric atmosphere. The first quarter was a blistering annihilation of the Cats. In the second quarter, Melbourne did not kick a single goal, and my spirits plummeted. ‘Here we go again, bloody Melbourne,’ I might have been heard to mutter under my breath.

But if we were failing to kick straight, so was Geelong and it was our night – a fierce match of attrition with dogged tackling that got us convincingly over the line.

As we stomped and cheered and clapped, jumped up and down and sang ‘It’s a grand old flag’ till we were hoarse, I allowed myself to be carried away with the sheer joy of the moment, rejoicing with the thousands of fans who had waited so long for a night like this.

I didn’t let myself think of next week’s match, which we may not win, and even if we do, the one after that, and then the Grand Final itself if, by some miracle, we get that far. For once, I didn’t look ahead, anxiously, to all the things that might go wrong, I simply revelled in a fine moment, the memory of which will stay with me.

I recall letting my hair down at a cousin’s wedding shortly before my mother died, putting my grief, anxiety and weariness on hold, celebrating a moment of love and joy. Life is fraught, and we do well, when a moment of celebration arrives, to park our worries and dance the night away. Or throw our arms in the air and, even though it’s late and we’re exhausted, and the train at Jolimont will be heaving, singing the Dees song one more time.

 This was published in The Melbourne Age on 11 September

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Reader Comments (3)

Wise words Clare. Is it inherent in the human psyche that our worries outweigh our capacity to rejoice in the moments of joy?

September 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRod

I am along way away but shared your joy for the Dees and look forward with great anticipation to a joyous magpie warble this week end.

September 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterArthur

Loved this piece, Clare. In fact it's what decided me to seek you out! Whether it's a footy win or an electric guitar solo, being in the moment is when we're most human. Certainly it's a life-long work in progress for me!

Isn't 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' a wonderful song? I'm pretty sure I heard Linda Ronstadt's version first. And to demonstrate that I'm still the pedantic, insufferable music geek I always was, I'll just add that the song was written by Jimmy Webb, a great American songwriter ("Macarthur Park" "Galvesont" "By the time I get to Phoenix" etc).


September 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Vinyl Connection

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