Bubbles takes the final hit up for Souths
When a Picture Paints a Thousand Words... Yet I Only Get 750
Seriously, how bad was it?
It is a date we don't look forward to, a date on the sporting calendar circled in dark spiteful black circles of ink. My husband, a proud long-suffering Eels fan and myself, a proud high-flying Roosters fan, take our customary positions on the battered and arse-imprinted couch to watch our two teams take to the field. It hasn't gone well for my husband in recent history, however another year, another story with a different ending... fingers crossed!
After a good win against the Warriors in Round One, my husband is all smiling good-humoured banter. After a poor performance against our arch rivals, I am bottled enthusiasm, confidence under a tight rein. It doesn't take long for the scoreboard to start clicking over, at least on the tricolour side of the ledger and I am clapping grins, albeit a much more subdued version of myself when playing another team, any other team.
And then the assault begins. Half-time over and assault doesn't even begin to cover what transpires in the second half. The Roosters should have been charged with GBH, Grievous Bodily Harm, or JWH as it's now been renamed since Saturday night. They are clinical, ruthless and have acted with malicious forethought, however in their defence Parramatta did bend over pretty darn easily!
My cheers morph into gasps and groans as an avalanche of points bury the last embers of hope in my husband's heart. I can literally see the spark sputter out after the back-to-back-to-back-to-back attacking raid of the reigning Premiers early in the second stanza. This is not just hope for this particular eighty minutes of football. This is hope for Season 2014, hope for the future, hope for humanity itself, all crushed beneath Bondi boots.
It is from here on that I cease enjoying the spectacle. Only six short days ago I had been riding the wave of emotion crashing from my husband as his Eels won their first game played since his beloved father had passed away, late December of last year. This is a man who was so passionate about his club that his casket was borne atop the shoulders of his son and others and in this way was carried aloft into the Chapel to the haunting strains of “When the Eels are flying, they're electrifying...”!
“I just need them to win for dad.” So much pressure, so much expectation on one game of football. So much pressure, so much expectation on the twice wooden spooners (with a good chance at a three-peat). However, in this instance the Eels managed to deliver a victory in honour of one of their most ardent of fans, sadly lost way too early.
Six days later and there's a crime being committed at Allianz Stadium! And on this couch, a soul is being crushed, the weight of defeat and lost hope bending my husband's shoulders. I am at once trying to be the consoling partner, the supportive wife, the dutiful house Frau, all the while wearing the tricolours, much like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
One executive decision later and the football is canned in favour of The Walking Dead, being in need as we are for some viewing with less blood and carnage. My jersey has been discreetly covered by a jacket and my husband's ranting is becoming more sporadic and less venomous as I prise the last beer for the night out of his half lifeless hand.
Having survived another encounter between our sides, the harshest so far, I place a blanket gently over his prone, snore-filled torso. press the record button for the replay of Roosters v Eels, which I'm really looking forward to watching tomorrow... on my own!
I sag back into the couch further until I am a bundle of spent energy. “Jesus Christ” I mutter under my breath so as not to wake the sleeping monster beside me, “and this is only the second round.” The weight of twenty-four more rounds of this emotional roller-coaster settles atop my chest, pressing the air from my lungs. “Oh Freddy the Great One” I whisper, my eyes raised to the framed picture of my tricolour deity, “give me the fortitude to cop the losses, the grace to lose with dignity and the strength to survive another season with a bipolar Eels supporter – Amen!”
Word count: 731