It’s coming up for footy finals the length and breadth of the land. I am a fairly cursory follower – I try to always know enough to be able to talk about what’s going on, but I don’t go to games as a rule or watch much more than highlights. As a kid we used to go to Auburn matches every week, and we loved it. Now Auburn doesn’t have a side, sadly. Or netball, which the girls (including me) played at the same time.
This year I have been visiting local grounds – sometimes empty, sometimes while games are on – and have been really interested in their community-mindedness and vitality. They seem to be places where social norms and issues are present – girls teams are springing up, there are indications on some grounds of anti-violence attitudes, and they are places where people go to mix and mingle – in ‘tribes’, but at least it’s happening… They are also places of great commitment – all those who run them, coach teams, make food, support teams, maintain facilities, play in teams, etc etc. Create them in the first place even. They are also places where people get a bit acknowledged – there are little plaques everywhere for and about someone. Almost always the men, but hopefully that will change now that women are actually playing the game, not just supporting +++ and washing the shirts etc.
Yesterday I called in to Prospect Oval late in the game between North and Port – dad is a life long North follower so I of course supported them for him – there was quite a crowd, with North trailing at the last change. It was quite exciting, as they pulled off a 4 point victory in the end. Earlier in the week I called in briefly to the South Adelaide ground, where a much more local event was taking place – a mini-carnival between sides of the smaller primary schools down south, the schools which are too small to have regular teams. This gave the kids a chance to play and to compete – some for the first time. I got there right at the end of the day – but it was obviously a great success, with shields, presentations and all the rest. It was put on by People Matters Hackham West – a great little community group – and a fab initiative. I also saw a women’s/girls game at Goodwood, visited the Glenelg Oval when there was no match on at all, and went to Christies Beach Oval for the CHO fundraiser earlier in the year. I have walked around Auburn Oval a few times too – no photos of that, but maybe I will take one and add to this post later…
It’s hard to take good photos of Ovals – they are big, and people look swamped or invisible in them, but here are a few anyway.