Once in a while things happen the way they are meant to. For those with the means or the brains, dream outcomes occur more often. But for battlers, and those bearing the weight of others’ excesses, the notion that ‘every dog will have its day’ is a falsity perpetrated by people who make greeting cards.
But yesterday that dog did have its day. After sixty two years The Western Bulldogs, the Scraggers, the Doggies or the plain original Footscray, the team who in the 1980s was on its knees with near fatal debt, won the AFL Grand Final, beating the glamour Sydney outfit – a quest so bizarrely outrageous that Victoria, the home of AFL football is today breathing a collective simpatico sigh of relief, disbelief and joy.
I don’t barrack for the Dogs – although I proudly declare them as my second team in honour of Jack – but yesterday I hailed each handpass, clapped each cunning kick, trumpeted tackles and gloried in every goal as though they were executed by my beloved Melbourne Demons.
The magic was not just that this club had waited sooo long for the ‘urn,’ or survived through the dark years of debt, paid off by loyal Dog supporters, but that this club played with heart.
Cliché? Normally it’s a cliché that teams play with heart. But this was the heart of a rabid dog that hadn’t had his Meaty Bites for a week. And why? The relationship which the coach Luke Beveridge shares with his players is an exquisite one. Dare I say it is love? Whoa…what? Tough guys ready to belt the opposition’s lights out with thumping, dare I say doggedness, playing one of the toughest Grand Finals I’ve seen. In the words of the perennially energetic Tina Turner – What’s Love Got to Do, Got to Do With It? Well a lot as it turns out.
Luke Beveridge showed it in abundance when he, upon receiving the coveted Jock McHale Medal, for the premiership coach, in turn presented it to the injured captain who took no part in the game or a chunk of the season in a physical sense, but did so in bucket-loads in a metaphysical one, the soul brother – Bob Murphy.
Geeze I cried. I was inconsolable when I saw that, even when Jack lay his paw on my thigh and looked into my emotionally contorted face, trying to figure out why humans were so bewildering, I cried. And anyone who didn’t cry when they witnessed that is a cold hearted sod or an actual dog. It was love.
So enjoy your triumph Dogs as we all rejoice in your special win. But remember -for now the Dogs are the Gods (on the banner, I did see) but let the Gods give a nod, to all the bods at the Gee, Melbourne must be next in line, waiting fifty years and three, we hope the cup gold and fine, will find its way to a Dee.
(Sorry about the Dog-gerel.)