Without a doubt, this Covid-19 virus has sent the world into shock, disbelief and we are all now facing a future that is not only uncertain but dramatically changed…forever. The way the powers-that-be handle this situation will be a testament to how we, as a nation, will recover and re-grow from this.
When the first round of the AFL season took place, it was one that received very mixed reactions, from “glad that footy is back” to “should not have started in the first place.” We saw great games of the AFLW season which, unfortunately for this season could not be completed and there were no Premiers for 2020 declared. We saw that around the world, people have been logging on and watching any sport, which has found them watching our game – AFL, and they have loved our game. It is weird, confusing and a bit scary that season 2020, when so many supporters of all clubs, especially those that could see a rise in their club, was now at an end.
This sport is really a code that is so steeped in traditions, history and that family attitude that bind the love we have for the game, the club we love so much and the players in it – including the coaches, administrators and everyone involved in a club – with each other. This is displayed in the very essence from the ones who week in and week out, give up their time to support their club in any way possible. I’m talking about the Cheer Squads. As one who is involved and a proud member of the Carlton Cheer Squad, I am struggling to think that the camaraderie and that family feeling that our Squad has built up, means that for season 2020, we won’t be together for a while, and this goes for every Carlton group, and interstate groups.
For us, the Carlton Cheer Squad, it is more than a love of a team, of a club, it is a love for each other. We have become a family. We fight, celebrate, argue, care and love each other like a family. We support each other when the chips are down and are there when there is a time for celebration. I haven’t seen my “family” for a while and through the good and the bad, I bloody miss them. I miss the anticipation we all feel the day before a game. The messages sent to confirm times to meet at the ground. The discussions on who is going to do what on the day. The organization we share in getting the banner on the ground, laying out the floggers, the flags and giving at times, people who feel so honored to step on to the playing field and be a part of the rising of the club’s banner. I miss all that.
I miss the chants, the banter between the opposition, the times when we would either get soaking wet, or sunburned, but we would still celebrate and commiserate – together.
I’m not sure when we will be allowed to start again and reignite all this. I’m not sure if 2020 will be a year that we can or maybe we won’t be able to. Maybe the whole world, including footy will be re-set and start again in 2021. No matter what, all I know is that I, together with all Cheer Squads, across the board and clubs, are feeling quite despondent right now, for we have been waiting for this all summer.
Everything we ever knew about footy will change from season 2021. Everything. It won’t be the same as it was before, it can’t. We can’t just pick up where we left off. Players, coaches, and staff will have to pick up the pieces of their careers and literally start again. We will see some not come back; some come back with a vengeance and maybe some will come back and be the player no-one saw coming. But what I do know is that the family that is the Carlton Cheer Squad will be there no matter where and under what circumstances or conditions. Because we will be there in the good, the bad and the bloody ugly, and this, right now is ugly, and we are a family and that is what families do. Well, we do!
I am Bound By Blue!