Kick me, I’m starting to like this

By Ivy Jensen

I HAVE many passions.

But football is not one of them. 

Particularly after Queensland’s three-year Origin losing streak in the early ’90s. 

I mean, life was hard enough going through puberty, only to be knocked down by NSW year after year.

My bedroom walls bore the brunt of my frustrations and so I was restricted from watching the State of Origin and most other competitive sport until my hormone levels had evened out.

I almost broke the telly during a Boxing Day Test match in my younger days, and I don’t even like cricket!

And when I moved to Echuca 12 years ago, all anyone would talk about was AFL.

It seemed to be ingrained in Victorian culture.

Rugby league isn’t even played here, let alone discussed. 

So I was immediately out of the loop.

So before I got left behind, I quickly picked a team to barrack for, which was the Lions — a decision based solely on the fact I had lived in Brisbane for nearly four years. 

As good a reason as any, but probably not the best considering they haven’t won a premiership in 15 years.

Anyhoo, that was basically the extent of my involvement in a sport I knew nothing about.

My lack of football knowledge is a constant embarrassment to Ayla who looks at me in disgust when I feign ignorance in Cameron Guthrie or question her on anything football-related.

At the tender of 11, Ayla is already a diehard football fanatic. She’s got the Cats jersey, the jumper, the scarf, the beanie, the flag, the PJs, the screensaver and the stickers (which cover the walls and anything else she can get her hands on).

Obviously this passion didn’t come from me. And her Cats’ persuasion didn’t even come from her father — who’s a steadfast Bombers supporter.

It all started with Ayla’s stepmother Amanda, who coaxed a then three-year-old into joining her beloved team. 

And it worked. Almost to the point of obsession. 

I actually don’t think I can bear another year of Geelong not making it into finals. 

Thankfully this year she was actually at the game (that saw Geelong pushed out of finals contention after a crushing loss to Melbourne) with her dad and Amanda, so it wasn’t me who had to put up with the endless wailing and bouts of rage.

You see, I don’t take footy that seriously. 

However, I must say I enjoy the odd perve when the blokes run around in their shorty shorts. 

And they certainly are an improvement on the NRL players.

Not that you would ever catch me glued to the screen watching it on the weekends.

But that all changed last Saturday when I accepted an invitation to watch the grand final at a friend’s theatre room.

I guess I figured we could always put on The Greatest Showman if our attention waned.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. West Coast Eagles proved to be a competitive contender for the Collingwood favourites — the scores extremely close for the entire game.

The girls and I put our hopes on the Eagles — because, let’s face it, no-one apart from Pies fans wanted Collingwood to win.

So, for the first time in my life, I cheered, booed, stamped, argued, squealed, bounced and celebrated my way through an AFL grand final. 

And I’m proud to say, there was no damaged television (or in this case big screen) in sight.