This weekend I was lucky enough to witness the uniting nature of sport. It’s the reason that I love the industry – because it has the power to bring people together in a way that very few other things can. And it’s always a privilege to see.
I mentioned in a previous post that I was heading to see a friend of mine play for Sydney Uni AFL in the Sydney AFL Division Five Premiership (Dom rocked, in case you were wondering). To save you the suspense, they won. By less than a goal. Seriously, the last time I was that stressed about a game, was when the Celtics played the Lakers in game 7 for the ’09 championship (I’m a Celtics fan, so you can guess how unhappy I was after that one…).
Now as good as some of the players were, there were some massive mistakes. Boys were dropping chest marks. They weren’t running for the ball. They were passing straight into the hands of UTS. There was some messiness… and I am still going back and forth about whether or not it was pure luck that won them the game (not that it matters, I just want to know how I feel about it). For me, it was stressful – how was it possible that you didn’t scream at your teammate when he let a ball bounce between his legs when he wasn’t being followed by an opponent? Where do you find the peace to pat a friend on the back after he basically gives the ball away? I wanted to yell at them, and it wasn’t even my grand final on the line. None of it was making sense to me…
More than half of the club (players for other divisions who hadn’t made the grand final) was out there supporting them and yelling insults at UTS (because that’s the right thing to do) and encouraging Sydney Uni. They were being uplifting and positive and constantly cheered. During half time, nearly all the supporters huddled around the team and rushed the field after the final siren.
The after party celebration was absurd – singing the club song every twenty minutes was unnecessary (although tremendously entertaining). They were buying each other drinks and they knew each others lives and everyone serenaded the German girls just like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. For them, it was typically post-win behaviour. For me, an outside observer, it was more than that.
There is something to be said about that team that let’s its players know they’re more than just the tools they used to win a grand final – they’re part of something bigger. Maybe I’m romanticising the game… but there was a sort of magic to it. Boys don’t give their all to just any team and they don’t commit like that unless it means something to them. They did it for Sydney Uni and look what they got? A premiership.
That brotherhood is what brings all those boys out to Blacktown at before nine o’clock in the morning (ON A SATURDAY). It’s why they support each other instead of reprimanding their teammates. It’s the thing that makes them go to the gym during the week or show up at training, in the rain, even if they’re off the list for the weekend and celebrate with their teammates even if they didn’t get to play. This club is a manifestation of dedication, unity and camaraderie, and although it shines when they succeed, it is just as evident when they don’t.
Like I said… maybe I’m romanticising it and being a total girl about such a masculine sport. But Sydney Uni is a more like a family than a club – and I just wanted to say congratulations, boys. It was one helluva game!