Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Death Of The Devils Part 1

Originally uploaded by JungsPN

So it was a bad night for one of my favourites, Suzy Batkovic, she of the hypnotically bouncing bosom, as apparently she was single handedly responsible for our flogging at the basketball (according to Fox). Pretty rough I'd have thought, I blame Lauren Jackson personally, I've never liked her at all. Worringly, I got the picture from a website which seemed fetishly obsessed with tall women, but what the hell, a pics a pic isn't it, although I'm suddenly thinking what happened to my fetishes? Should I have one? Everyone else seems to. I missed the Pies In The Sky as well, because I was drinking at, you guessed it, Syrup. I watched the replay this morning, lying on the floor eating a pancake and hurting a little bit, but it was good to see the boys having a crack. I didn't get a punch in the mouth this time, which is good. I don't know whether it was me, but I had quite a poetic drunken ennui to the whole Syrup scene - it seemed amazingly dead last night, not even Dave Dobbyn got a spin. I was a little drunk, and I'm probably over that a bit, I should drink a bit less and go home a bit earlier. I'm nearly 30 and a bit over stumbling home and watching episodes of the Simpsons on the floor. It's all getting a bit shambolic. Although, brilliantly, it wasn't my fault for once that we didn't get into places - Temuera Morrison on the door at the Telegraph said it was someone elses fault we couldn't get in, then we couldn't get into somewhere else because Jay La'gaia said no. We ended up in Liberal party stronghold Bar-Cel-ona talking to someone about Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. Naturally, being Bar-Cel-Ona, we were thrown into a holding cell and re-educated until we only talked about John McCain...the Andrew Bolt wing I think it's called.

It might seem harsh to segue talking about shambles to talking about The Devils, our dying on the vine VFL football team, but I did at least go and see them (and kudos to the bewildered bloke in the Collingwood hat who found it funny I couldn't find Bellerive Oval) have a dip in their second last ever game (if you missed it, the Devils are being disbanded so Tassie can have a statewide league, which is just the stupidest idea - although I say bring back East Launceston!) before being robbed by the umpires. There was no one there, I guess we're down to the diehards, some little kids calling North Ballarat shitheads, someone making a Roosters/Cocks joke (OK that was me), some girls trying to pick up, and people having a lovely chat in that 1992 St Mirren we've been relegated and we're losing again so we might as well have a chat because there's nothing else to do and the game is awful kind of way. What I hadn't heard was our incredibly god awful theme song. I think when you set up a football team, the song (a staple of Aussie Rules clubs is the club song the players sing after they win, if you didn't know) is more important than the name, the jumper or recruiting. In our case at Collingwood, saying the Premierships a cakewalk when you've lost 26 Grand Finals is pushing it, but the Tassie theme song is so bad, I think Scott Wade wrote it himself just to make us fail to be inspired. It's an adaptation of the Richmond song, We're From Tigerland, the best AFL song of all time, but it's watered down, stripped of all passion, and sounds like an N-Trance remix. The best bit of the Richmond version is the bit that goes We're from Tiger (YELLOW AND BLACK!), we're from Tigerland, but in our case, it goes, We're from Tas-man-green yellow and black-tas-man-ia, and it just makes everyone feel embarrassed. Tasmanians might remember a few years ago our cricket team had a crack at a we're from Tigerland ad campaign, given they are the Tigers, which involved all round colourful character (ie. tool) Mark Ridgeway playing some air guitar with a cricket stump. Not since David Boon drove around Kate Langbroek in that Trust Bank ad has a cricketer so embarrassed themselves in a Tasmanian wonder we keep losing, with such an uninspiring song. Even if we'd run on to Powderfinger we'd have been more pumped...

For any tourists out there, a trip to Bellerive wouldn't be complete without a visit to the wonderful clay or bronze or whatever the hell it is statute of Boonie though, sadly which doesn't seem to be a posed tribute to the time he got nine stitches in his chin without anaesthetic, his semi legendary drinking contest with Danny Buckingham, or his Trust Bank ad with Kate Langbroek (on the The great thing about the statue of course (and this applies to about 50% of all statues) is it looks nothing like him. When I was growing up, everyone referred to Boonie as "chunky", but his statue gives him the hip and bone structure of Objection (Tango) era Shakira. I would also suggest going to see a game at Bellerive when no one is there, as it's terrific fun - how many security guards can guard 6 people in the Wet Area? Three? Four? Will one of them get really close to belting a kid for kicking the footy in a non designated area? Will you be accosted to buy raffle tickets by a clearly bored model/actress or an enthusiastic 15 year old boy? And who will sell more tickets? What will amuse you more - the wit and wisdom of a drunk bloke in the crowd or the fat kid kicking the footy on the ground? Will we get an aerobics display at half time or someone driving remote control cars around the boundary line? Will you see a Tasmanian identity - maybe Dave Noonan! The glamour! Will you take advantage of Bellerives malfunctioning online betting system? Will someone have got in for free that you know, while you had to pay, and how does that happen? Will the man on the ticket booth be 80 or over? And most importantly - will you get beer? Well, you'll get beer, but will you get full strength or that disgusting horrible light beer they serve at random games? Why can you drink yourself stupid at an international game full of dickhead but only light beer at some VFL games when there's roughly 3 people there? If you are a tourist, and wish to come up with a Lonely Planet style guide to Bellerive, the area and the ground, there's so much material even I don't know where to start...

But back to the Devils - and sadly, I didn't follow through with my threat to heckle Scott Wade or make a "We're Wadeing into mediocrity" banner - and as I sat in my little plastic bucket seat looking at the seat next to me with the big giant crack in it and talked about, well, East Launceston, I couldn't help but think that unless we get an AFL side down here, football down here will die. The number of people who care about their local team falls every single year - the Devils really were our best chance of getting a side up and running that people would care about, and to kill them off to try and get people in Burnie to worry about a game against Lauderdale is just insane. Far more people care about Nick Maxwell than North Hobart, but there was something that Scott Wade said that annoyed me, when he made a sneery comment about "social footy clubs" - the only place left that has football teams people care about are small towns with a hundred years of tradition who put a team out every week even though times are tough, and no one is buying tickets to the meat-tray raffle, and yes, at times they are social footy clubs playing at a pretty scrappy level, but that's not a bad thing is it? I think the biggest problem for The Devils though was that the players never became part of the community, and they never had a social club. Had we seen them more, maybe if they've sold more raffle tickets, maybe had a meat tray sale or too, and yes, been more of a social footy club, we'd have loved them more - but Luke Shackleton is at full forward, and no one knew who he was (except me, cos he was a Collingwood player) and I couldn't help but think of all those local instore promotions Puffing Billy Fielding did in Penguin, and how many times he was in the paper on this tractor, while Luke Shackleton, he's never been in the window of a local Myer and Cameron Thurley has never done a Jordan Lewis style local car ad...but that's probably because they aren't AFL players, can't compete with Russell Robertson and his guitar, and it's a circle we could never complete. However, what is stupid is that players as good as Thurley won't be playing down here anymore (Thurley won't be going to City South), and I guess my long held Tote bet that Brodie Holland would coach us and we'd see Sarite biting someones nipple outside Isobar is lost. Anyway, the game, the club, did matter to someone...I realised after a while the crack in the seat was caused by a footprint, from one disgruntled Devils supporter...

Or maybe he just heard how badly Suzy Batkovic played last night...


Kris said...

C'mon, Luke Shackelton is a former Burnie Docker. He has done an ad for a car yard prior to being picked up and ruined by the Mariners and Collingwood!

There were plenty for a final here in Geilston Bay on Saturday, and Lindesfarne got a decent crowd as well.

The state league is a bad idea though, unless you can get Batkovic at FF for Latrobe and Jenny Whittle in the ruck (and by god, how awful did Jenny look in those lycra outfits? I still have nightmares).

With regards to a keen following for a basketballer, I always had a soft spot for Wynyard's own Carla Boyd/Porter/Boyd. You could write a whole column on her supple thighs.

Miles McClagan said...

Really? He's done a car ad? Why isn't that on Youtube? No fair!

I think footy in Tasmania it doesn't have an elite level - places like Lauderdale and Penguin getting 600 out is as good as it gets, obviously I love it, but to think Burnie vs North Hobart is an elite level we'll all sit and watch and wait for Peter Gilligan to say who is the player of the week on Sunday is just mental.

To be honest, a forward line with Suzy Q and legendary netballer Joanne "Plugger" Morgan would probably kick arse (and be better than what the 2 Blues have at the moment).

Jenny Whittle - the Conchita Martinez of the WNBA. What was with her eyes? My favourite basketballer now is Carly Wilson - maybe we can bring back the local pride by bringing back The Islanders?