September 30

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Eat ’em Alive

It’s been a huge day for Tiger supporters. We’ve finally won the premiership after a 37 year hiatus.  I managed to obtain a grand final ticket so was able to watch the game at the MCG.  It was an amazing experience.  I’ve just gotten home from roaming around Tiger town (Richmond) after the game.  There were Tigers fans swarming every single bar, café, restaurant, corner and park.  It was like being down Franklin Street after a UNC beating Duke, except amplified by 37 years and 4 million people (though not everyone in Melbourne is a Richmond supporter).

Leading up to the grand final, Richmond defeated Geelong in the Qualifying final and the Giants in the Preliminary final. Both games were at the MCG with over 90,000 spectators.  I was managed to get tickets to both of those games from friends who are Tigers members.  In both of those games, we pulled away in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  Since both games were out of town teams, Tigers fans made up about 90% of the crowd.  It was deafening whenever we scored a goal.

Today’s grand final was a little different.  The tigers wore their “away” colours (yellow top with black strip, with white shorts).  There was some controversy about why we couldn’t wear our traditional colours.  It was a bigger crowd (over 100,000 spectators), but since there are so many MCC and AFL members and corporate sponsors, the black and yellow was diluted to about 50%.  I sat next to a Crows supporter on my left and a Carlton AFL member on the right, Essendon AFL members in front and Tigers fans behind me.  My ticket was from another friend who has an AFL membership but lives in Brisbane.  She gave me her ticket to the big dance because 37 years is a long time to wait between grand finals.

The game was stressful, frustrating, frantic but amazing. The Adelaide Crows started much better than the Tigers, kicking 2 goals before we scored.  They have a fast kick-on game and we stumbled and fumbled around.  We managed to catch up and were 9 pts up at half-time.  It rained in the third quarter, which put us in the advantage (Tigers play better in the rain) and we pulled ahead to lead by about 40 pts into the final quarter.  We kept the lead and won with the final scores as Crows 8.12 (60) and Tigers 16.12 (108).  The tigers really kept up the pressure and tackled furiously.  It was a pure team effort.

I leave in a few hours for my home trip but I’m too excited to sleep. Luckily I have my suitcase packed, my alarm set and already ordered my Uber to the airport.  There’s nothing else to do but to savior the moment.  I’ll sleep on my 15 hour flight to LAX wearing my Tigers top / scarf.  If I achieve nothing else on this PULSE assignment (though I hope I do), today has made the assignment worthwhile.