(Howdy again. This is an unusual case of something written for my regular gig in The Age sport section which gets its first airing here instead. The reasons for that are too complicated, and quite possibly too dull, to go into. It probably bears saying that its non-publication in the paper had nothing to do with Rohan Connolly, who I have a harmless dig at in the following. As far as I know, he never even saw it. Anyway, I already had it wrote, so I thought, in those famous words which have brought down so many national and business empires, “Why not?”)
The Fun Times Never End at the Fun-o-Torium
This week saw the poignant lament of Age football analyst Rohan Connolly: “Has the 2012 AFL season actually finished yet? Has 2013 already begun? Who really knows anymore?”
Connolly’s Contention was that, no longer centred on the season proper, footy’s period of prominence was now – to borrow the vivid phrase-making of a US baseball commentator of yore – spread all over the calendar “like the proverbial fat man’s picnic”.
Admittedly, in one sense, this is rather like the reports that surface every few months in, err, “lifestyle” media, that young women are “now” going in for tattoos and exotic piercings.
That is, arguably it’s a perfectly valid observation, albeit one which would have been equally valid at any time in the last five years or so.
Alternatively, one might hail all the way back to those misty, crazy frontier times of three weeks ago to reflect on the following notation in some dubious bit of scribble entitled Devil’s Advocate:
“Any pretence that the Australian football industry shuts down from October to April is long since a casualty of media trends, as well as season scheduling.”
Of course, ignoring this column is always positively educational.
Interestingly, a particular Connolly Concern was that the actual FOOTBALL events of the season, (inc grand final), become devalued by being so soon overrun with scandal, intrigue etc – i.e. the usual run of bilge-water.
Perhaps just ignoring the gibberish remains the community’s most vital weapon here.
Indeed, one is strangely reminded of a privileged encounter, (well, in a parking lot), roughly five years ago, with a long-time respected pundit of the game – a champion player in his day – who had somehow wangled a week’s holiday from his media commitments not long before the finals.
As he shovelled recreational equipment into his vehicle by the armload, I jokingly suggested that, during his break, he would no doubt greatly miss the footy soap opera that graced Melbourne’s pages and airwaves every day.
“Not for a second!” he yelled out of the window, as he floored it in a rattle of surfboards, tennis racquets and other “lifestyle” supplies, leaving me waving a fond goodbye amidst a generous cloud of exhaust fumes.
And there’s a lesson in that for all of us.