Today is Aussie Rules Football Grand Final day. The whole of the 'footy' season has led inexorably to this point, the final clash between the two best teams of the year. Now I am totally and utterly unimpressed by any sport, especially the seemingly pointless running after a ball on some grass (either playing, as I was sadistically forced to by gorilla like P.E. teachers, at school, or watching it live or on the TV). However, I understand this actually makes me an aberration to the average Australian. The concept of a male who is not into sport is beyond many of them, and for the rest I defy categorisation.
Grand Final day is always on a Saturday and it is always interesting to be out and about in the afternoon (the game starts mid afternoon). Everywhere is deserted, it's like Christmas Day on Mars, there is not a soul about. It's a different story in the morning before the game of course, supermarket and alcohol retailers are awash with party goers and throwers stocking up on slabs of beer and meat for the inevitable BBQ's.
This afternoon I visited Bunnings (major hardware chain) which is normally packed with people buying home improvement paraphernalia and has checkout queues snaking for miles, but this afternoon, I swear I saw tumbleweed rolling down the bathroom fittings isle. The normally harassed staff members were huddled in groups looking forlorn and slightly confused by the lack of custom.
Back home the street were empty, the usual kids on bikes, the dog walkers, the cars driving past were all missing from the scene, it was weird and slightly unnerving, OK so it may have something to do with the fact it was freezing cold and intermittently pouring with rain, but undoubtedly the game is the main reason for the uncanny quietude.
So Grand Final day is a possibly one of the most important dates on any Victorian's calendar (except for me of course) and along with Melbourne Cup day 'the horse race that stops a nation' (which I have talked about elsewhere on this blog) it will grind the state to a virtual halt. Personally I prefer Melbourne Cup day as it's on a Tuesday and everyone in Melbourne gets a holiday, whether they plan to watch the race or not, now that's a sports mad attitude for you...