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I'll Take That

From the Members Wednesday JUL 07

By Lynda Carroll

You know, we football supporters are a fickle bunch. As a Melbourne member, I can vouch for this tendency all too readily. We’ve actually been on top of the ladder for most of the 2021 season, which is giddy and joyful. Drop to second on percentage, and what happens? Woe and despair.

There is no need for that. Sure, you can avoid the replay of the GWS loss, turn the daily papers over to admire the advertising that typically graces the front covers these days, and have a discussion about the midfield, but do not lapse into the doldrums. Instead, be like the little supporter I photographed in the MCC Library some time ago, who just wanted to see Max Gawn play.

If you really want to lapse into a (red and) blue mood, try the chips this season. Too much chicken salt, folks! (Speaking of which, why chicken salt on chips?) Anyway, I digress. For the sake of your little Melbourne 2021 gratitude journal, take a trip back through the statistics. How about 2019? Following up from the finals appearances of 2018, what happened? Five wins, seventeen losses, that’s what.

Then there’s the joy and laughter of 2013. Two wins, twenty losses. Or 2008, when the club’s 150th was marked in style with three wins and 19 losses. These were tough seasons for everyone, especially for those actually playing the game.

What you have to remember, of course, is that every shocker of a season is just around the corner from a better one; kind of like winter turning into spring. Look at 1997, for instance. The mantra I have absorbed is that we won in Rounds 1, 10, 15 and 22. A coach and a CEO departed the scene. But how did the 1997 season start? With a win over North Melbourne, and the debut of one Shane Woewodin. See what I mean? The kernel of a career, the spark of seasons ahead.

So, when you have a good season in your keeping, take it, enjoy it, and don’t worry about the speed bumps. If you’re mature enough, thank your lucky stars that it’s not 1981 – one win and 21 losses – or 1951, also graced by a solitary victory, but just 17 losses (so much better for the spirit!)

Then there’s 1919, which carries many a burden, already sorrow soaked as we started to recover from the Great War, only to be hit by – of all things – a pandemic. Melbourne, with nearly 30 new players on its list, lost all 16 games. This meant that the horrid experience of 1906, with one win and 16 losses, was left looking quite respectable.

So, here we are in 2021. While there are still a few rounds to go, and while it’s been chaotic and creative – nothing like being the first ‘curtain raiser’ game on the MCG in 35 years – what a beautiful time it’s been to flutter that red and blue scarf out the car window, commiserate with the rest of the ladder except the Western Bulldogs (who only came into the competition in 1925, so have a youthful advantage, after all), and look at the win-loss ratio. From Fritsch to Petracca to Oliver to Salem to May and all others in between, right now we’ve got twelve wins and just three losses. While we naturally want more and better for our grand old club, isn’t that just wonderful?

Well, I think it is, and – as the title says – I’ll certainly take what 2021 has dished up so far, and – good, bad or indifferent - enjoy the rest of this season. Just hold the chicken salt, if you don’t mind.

Lynda Carroll

Lynda Carroll is happy to have people back at the MCG, and to be at the MCC Library again on match days. She is still researching for an updated MFC history, which she is writing alongside her duties for the MFC Past and Present Players’ and Officials’ Association, and is currently working part-time as an MCC Collections Cataloguer.