See that logo below? It’s the logo of the team I’ve supported all of my life. I was at the 1967 grand final when we won it, that’s how long I’ve been a supporter.
See that image below? The bloke in the middle, the one with a head like a ripe cantaloupe, he’s one of the blokes I spent years working with and reporting on the AFL alongside. Paul Gough, one of the greatest blokes, ever. You have no idea how excited he has been all month, ramping up to yesterday, and, as the photo shows, today. It’s been fun to follow along with him as he got crazier and crazier as the day approached, and then the event occurred, and then Richmond won. He went madder than usual, which is a fair effort.
I, OTOH, basically just don’t care about the flag (like most other things). I didn’t watch it, didn’t listen to it, got score reports and commentary from one of my good mates in Perth, who provides this service for me pretty regularly, although not for grand finals involving Richmond, given the last time we played one was 1982. It’s been 37 years since our 10th flag, and so a wait of nearly four decades should involve more than a little excitement, right? Nope. None at all. Seriously, Gus – who is a West Coast supporter (at least it’s not Freo) – was more excited than I was.
And I can tell you, it’s devastating, in a third-person kind of way. I would love to be excited, jumping around, carrying on like a kid. i.e. being as excited as Goughie and other Tigers fans.
Instead, it feels as though I’ve had something stolen – you wait for decades, then it’s just “meh.” Complete disconnection from everything.
But this jealousy (not in a bad way, more a wishing or longing) is just the example that brought all of this into current focus and prompted this blog post. For a long time, depression has made me feel like an actor in my own life, with actual me as the apathetic audience. Which, given how much I hate movies and TV, means I kinda watch, disinterested, as I screw my life up by being stupid and withdrawn. You end up second-guessing everything – do I really love my wife, or do I just think I do? If I did, why am I putting her through living with me when I’m like this?Why bother starting anything, you’re probably not going to finish it, or be the best at it anyway, even if you do finish it. Why bother doing anything? It’s sure to be a fail, right? Just like everything else, ever. On repeat in my head, all the time. No wonder I’ve got the headaches. (OK, they’re from the motorbike accident neck injury. But you know, contributing factors.)
Is this insanely frustrating? Well, yes. Do I wish I could just “snap out of it” or “be grateful for what I’ve got and so get moving”? Well, yes. Pretty obviously.
But when you’re enveloped in fog, and you can’t see a way forward, or in fact see anything in any direction, that stops being useful advice. Move where? Which direction? Am I standing on the edge of a cliff, and will a movement in one particular direction – a direction that looks the same as every other foggy direction – plunge me off the edge? I know it’s a recurring theme here on my blog, but maybe there’s a lesson in that – being too scared to move means too scared to start, which means doing NOTHING, and it’s driving me nuts.
Admittedly I don’t recall any real details (I was four!), but I do recall it being a massive crowd, and vague snippets of being in the rooms afterwards. Only fixed memory is the huge crowd and not seeing much, and Tommy Hafey (great coach, great man) and Royce Hart (the greatest AFL player ever) in the rooms afterwards, signing my autograph book. (My Sunday School teacher was something to do with the Richmond committee, or something, and he took me along.