Having missed the last Spirit home game I had been rambling on about the Wolves game around the house all week. Six year old Nathan began demanding to go, then four year old Alanna couldn't be left out and finally the wife said she "might as well go too".
Now, Mrs Bowman doesn't go to football games very often, mostly because I've gone on and on for all these years and as a result she is relatively antipathetic. So when Lyn says she's coming, believe me folks this is a MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH. Her last game eg was Oz vs Arg 5 years ago at the SFS.
In a sense, Lyn's attendance represents the thousands of people getting along to NSO, who have never been to an NSL game before.
So we all head off, representing the new northside, middle class, together family that the Spirit want along. Of course we have to go to swimming lessons first and I'm fussing around dressing the kids afterwards and insisting on hurrying and as a result we get there 2 hours early. There is therefore plenty of room in the Bob Stand and we sit two blocks along from where I know the lads will be. This is amongst what Farrell (the bearded clam) calls the cardbord people - the ones who supposedley sit and don't cheer. More about that later.
The kids admission is free, which matters little after I spent a fortune on 2 spirit caps, a scarf, a program, multiple drinks and a whole mess of barbequed stuff. We're all fed and watered, there's still an hour before kickoff. I wonder about the wisdom of family attendance as a I see all the regulars file past and into the noisy section, including Tancred, Heath, Gremlin and the whole Bay 23 thing, Borellaman, and other Bowmans- Harry and Mastercard Mal. Still, this was for the longer term benefit of the game, I tell myself.
Finally its kickoff, by which time the kids are already tired from Kindy/school and swimming. Nonetheless we all enjoy the game immensely. The Bob Stand is far noisier than a few weeks ago, and the families are definitley jpining in. At least Nathan and I are - clap clap, clap clap clap, clap clap clap clap: SPIRIT! We join in most of the chants. When the lads sing "You're shit and and you know you are" Alanna asks "Dad what are they saying?" "They're suggesting that the calibre of the opposition is not quite up to scratch" I explain.
Robbie Slater is now the family's hero, exacerbated by the goal. The kids fall asleep, are awakened only by the fireworks and we then have to carry them 3 blocks to the car.
"Try the next game by yourself" suggests Lyn, but I know we'll all be back for a few more games before the end of the season. And in cardboard land, the enthusiasm is becoming infectious - the singing is getting louder, and a new culture is being thrashed out amongst people never really exposed to this kind of fun before. Are you watching Les Murray?