Is there anything more frustrating than hearing someone say, “it’s just a game”?

Because for many of us, it is something far greater and more precious about that. We live it and breathe it and study it and feel it like almost nothing else. Your team wins and you’re the king of the world – lose and it’s a week of heartache and ribbing from friends and colleagues (and family if you’re truly unlucky).

I’ve started this blog because there are few things I like to talk about more than AFL and I have some really great friends. I also wanted a space to record essays, thoughts or photographs about our great game. It’s slightly ironic that my first post comes around six hours after the 2014 grand final has been played but hey, timing isn’t everything. My aim over summer and into next year will be to publish some of my friends’ observations about football and my own thoughts on what’s happening in the AFL. My thinking at this point is to publish either pieces my friends have written themselves (short or long) or first person style interviews, but I’ll see how I progress.

I also wanted to have an online space around AFL that wasn’t the arguing idiocy that forums can devolve into, the incredible bias of Facebook pages, Supercoach anything, or purely match review style pieces. I want posts that are interesting to read on a theme or issue and I’m always infinitely keen to hear other people’s opinions when they’re delivered in a thoughtful manner.

Some quick information abut me – my name is Natalie, I live in Melbourne and I’m a Port Adelaide supporter. A proud Port Adelaide supporter, I should say. I’m also the black sheep of my family as they all follow the Sydney Swans, though consequently I do hold the Bloods very close to my heart as well. I grew up in country NSW watching rugby league and rugby union and we were horrified at the idea of this “aerial ping pong” business until Sydney made the grand final in 1996 – first game I ever watched was the Brisbane Bears v Essendon final that year while I was studying for my HSC. I decided to go with the new team Port Adelaide in 1997 and the rest, as they say, is history.

In that almost 20 years since I’ve seen my team finish minor premiers then lose preliminary finals. I’ve seen them win a grand final and then leave the ground in tears when they’ve lost one. I’ve been through four coaches and god knows how many players. I’ve been a paid up member and a somewhat lapsed and disillusioned fan. I’ve seen them play in nearly every state at almost every AFL ground. And I’ve cried and I’ve cheered and I’ve laughed and I’ve dug my nails in so hard I’ve drawn blood.

Because in every way, with no doubt about it, it is absolutely “more than a game.”

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