Over the past two weeks, there has so much that I have wanted to say but struggled how to say it in a rational, logical and meaningful way. Social media and the media as a whole went into overdrive with the team’s game against Collingwood. Then everyone went into more overdrive over the win against Freo.
Not writing anything, I just decided to watch, read and listen. I watched what the media “experts” said, what social media said, and listened to what others said. While some of it was justified, what was not was the appalling nature of name-calling and calls for some to be sacked because, in their mind, their abilities are just not up to it. This was aimed at players, coaches and administrators of the club. It is unnecessary to regurgitate what was said about the previous match or what is being said from this past match. The point of this piece is about the nature of what makes a supporter a true supporter.
I have been a Carlton supporter since I first arrived in Australia many, many years ago. I was astounded at this game called “footy”. I supported Carlton because the soccer team I supporter in England, where I am from, had the same nickname – Blues. I was a Chelsea supporter.
I went to nearly every game when it was called the VFL. I watched the brutality of the game and how players literally put their bodies on the line for an oval ball. But I also saw how these players played for the privilege of wearing the navy blue guernsey. Their pride in putting that top on and going on to the field was not just the belonging to a club, but the pride of actually playing for that club, the emblem and the history.
The game itself has evolved; whether it is for the good or bad, it has become something that, for some, they just can’t get their head around this. They want the game to go back to what it was back then when no matter how much the player’s body was bashed and brutally thrown around the next week, they would all start again. Given what we know now, especially with the long-term effects of concussion, we must stop looking backwards if we are to ever grow. The game has changed dramatically, some may say for the worse, but we have to accept how the game is today and the environment in which the game is played.
Social media has allowed everyone to have their say, voice their opinions, and that is fine, but the issue becomes when a line is crossed, and so-called supporters use vitriol and insidious claims and opinions to belittle players, administrators and coaches, and those who support the club no matter what.
We, as Carlton supporters, have been on a hell of a roller-coaster ride of the game over the years, yet those who are proud to wear their Carlton supporter gear, do so no matter what. We support the club through the losses and the wins. But it is a true testament to the supporter who may vent their frustration over a lack of effort. Still, it never goes to the extreme to belittle players, coaches, administrators and other supporters.
The game against Collingwood was, well, a really low point for the players, for they did not show their pride in the privilege of wearing that guernsey. Over the weekend, this was the opposite. It now has to be that every time a player goes out on the field with that top, they must read the words inscribed inside: when you put on this guernsey, the monogram on the front is more important than the number on the back.
We, as supporters, must also follow that mantra. We must support the club, the players, the coaches and administrators and each other for the pride of supporting this great club. Sure, we can vent our frustration, and sure we can have differing opinions, but not to the level where it was after the match against Collingwood. I love this club, no matter what. I may get angry, I may vent, I may even feel dejected, but I will never sink to the level that some have over these past few weeks.
I love this club!
P.S All photos courtesy of AFL; and letting me know the slogan on the top – thanks Alan Donovan 🙂