Sport without a premiership simply isn’t sport | Opinion

By Andrew Johnston

BECAUSE there’s one day in September/we want to remember.

Or, alternately.

Because there’s one day in October/footy’s almost over.

There isn’t any doubting/we’ll be in there shouting.

The day of days for our sport, the grand final.

What people in every league — in every sport — should be building to.

Football, like all sport is about one thing: winning.

You can keep the matches where you don’t keep score to protect people’s feelings to yourself, and take your participation trophies with you as well — they mean nothing.

Sport is about competition — if you’re not there to win, you shouldn’t be there at all.

Now, I’m not the most talented footballer out there, as I’m well aware.

That doesn’t mean I will walk off with my head held high if my team loses because at least I tried.

I came to do my part in a winning team.

That’s what everyone should be doing.

No matter your sport, no matter your level of competition, you should be doing everything you can to work towards the ultimate goal.

So when it was announced that the Hume league is not going to award a premiership this season, I cringed.

People have argued that 2020 is a tainted season because of COVID-19.

That may be what some people take away from this, but I'm not one of them.

The ball is still made of leather, it's still a grass-covered oval, and the goal posts haven't been moved.

As long as we get a decent number of games on the field, then I believe the sport is as legitimate as ever.

It's why I am so glad the AFL is about to restart, along with a number of other sports across the world.

You know what does taint a season?

Not having anything to play for.

Seriously, what is even the point of playing if you aren’t working towards a premiership.

What difference does it make if you win this week’s match if the ladder won’t reflect that you did?

Why would you want to improve on a 10-goal drubbing if you don’t get anything out of it?

Pride will only take you so far — you need something more.

Whoever said winning wasn’t everything clearly never won anything in their life.

Honestly, there is nothing better than winning, no matter what it is.

You won’t always be the best team, you won’t always have the success, and that’s a part of life.

But you need to keep pushing yourself to be the best possible, and without a goal to work towards, I honestly can’t see that happening.

I feel bad for the players in this competition who want to compete — if the competition does end up getting off the ground, as there are still no guarantees that will happen.

They will no doubt be going out there every game day and giving everything they have, using the built-up energy from missing so much football.

They will play every game as if everything is on the line.

But when there isn't a final day in September (probably October this year), where is the motivation to give it your all?

Honestly, if given the choice between what the Hume league decided, or what the Heathcote league decided (abandoning the competition for the year), I'd not play.

I'd rather hit the track and get as much work done as I can to be ready for next season and having a tilt at a flag when it matters.

Because it simply doesn't feel worth it otherwise.