Contributed by: Wesley Hull
I doubt that there has ever been a Round 2 of a season that has carried such a weight of expectation, whether that be at the highest level of the AFL, or the suburban juniors anywhere around the world. Yet, Collingwood and Richmond have played in one of the most, dare I say, important matches in many, many years.
Pitting two great traditional clubs against each other certainly raised the excitement. The canned applause was for the most art innocuous, although at times the crowd appeared to be cheering the wrong thing. That’s technology! The mere spectacle of a game – a live game - returning to the lounge-rooms across the world raised spirits.
However, more important that any of the above, arguably, is the fact that the ‘Pies and Tige’s are the catalyst for a new footy beginning. The fact that they both entered the field of battle tonight heralds what will come.
With the AFL back in motion, state leagues, metropolitan leagues, country leagues, junior leagues, international leagues and leagues everywhere will ever so gradually come to life.
COVID-19 has been an international tragedy. Before anyone talks about damage to football, businesses, sport in general, concert tours or whatever, the loss of human life has been devastating. History will forever remember the cost of the pandemic in terms of lives lost. Footy is unimportant on a world scale.
But at a more localised level, footy plays its part. The game is in its essential form a recreational escape, whether as a part of the game or as a spectator. It is a part of our life fabric. A distraction, a break from mundanity, a respite from a working week, a stimulus. In so many ways, people see the game as a part of their life. When COVID-19 removed the game, people realised how important it was to them. Or, at least, how much they miss it when it’s gone.
Tonight marked an important milestone for people who value the game.
As for the game itself. Two minutes to go and scores are level. Collingwood gets four goals ahead and the rest of the game was all about Richmond clawing back. Twenty-six second left…seven seconds, out of bounds…..DRAW!!
For one of the most important football matches, in its context, seen, nobody could have scripted it any better.
Cameron Ling just said on the telecast that a draw is an empty feeling. Maybe that is true for Collingwood and Richmond fans. But for the rest of the football world, they’re back. For the rest of the football world, they could not have had a better return to footy.
We can now hope that the match tonight is the catalyst of great things to come – wherever the game is played, whenever players get back on the field.
Photo Credit: Poltergeist 2, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1986
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