EVERY November it hits like a flu, a creeping disquiet, a sense that something important should be happening.
Now don’t get me wrong, footy season can get to be a slog.
Analysis, talkback, punditry – it can all grind your gears, especially in this digital age, with everything geared around dopamine harvest.
But here’s the thing: give me about a month after the grand final and I’m jonesing for it.
It’s worst on Saturdays.
I’ll be sitting with my partner with this gnawing in my brain urging me to flick it over to Channel 7, or at the very least fish out my phone to check the AFL app.
130 days until round one! pic.twitter.com/hQVXh7N7vc
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) November 12, 2019
Without football, I have no excuse for only half listening to her – full attention is demanded.
It gets worse late in the month, with the first Test approaching (couldn’t give a rat’s) when the footy news cycle nears its annual nadir: the unrestricted hell of the AFL draft period.
It’s the time of the year when people in the office start putting together random words that clearly don’t mean anything – ‘draft combine’, ‘academy bidding’, ‘phantom draft’, Calder Cannons – and fans get drunk on that most dangerous of beverage: hope.
It’s late spring, when clubs regenerate and bloom, and every single kid chosen will remind someone, somewhere, of a legend.
“Yeah, yeah this lad runs like Judd.”
“Yeah, yeah hands like Carey this boy.”
Yeah, nah – delisted after three games with feet like cracked plates.
And even though we know the laws of probability, we still gather round our computers the morning after draft day, watching under-18 carnival footage of our club’s latest recruits scrounging together a few handballs and maybe a goal if we’re lucky.
We’ll stagger through the summer, praying to the footy gods to ward off any pre-season calamity. (Sharrod Wellingham’s trampoline anyone?).
Come February, we’ll emerge tanned and ready to embrace whatever kooky rules they give us in the NAB Challenge, just for the blessed relief of seeing some Sherrins on the paddock.
For now though, we’ll suffer – we’ll sweat and twitch and rubbish Brendon Goddard’s opinions on the AFL’s best midfields and defences.
March 19, you can’t come quickly enough.
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