I'm not going to bemoan the fact that we went all the way to the 'G to watch the Swannies lose by one lousy point, because it was actually a great game, fantastic atmosphere, beautiful day...
Here's my lasting grand final day memory:
After World Citizen 3000 cooked us a lovely consolatory dinner at his home, we wandered around the corner to a local Saudi Arabian cake shop for dessert. When we arrived, still wearing our footy colours, we saw a family of West Coast supporters in the store, indulging in some celebratory cakes (it was after dark, even though it is Ramadan). Giving a wry smile and a nod as we passed them, we were surprised when they greeted us in a friendly manner and struck up a conversation. This family had travelled over from Perth for the game, just as we had travelled from Sydney. We congratulated them on their team's success, they commiserated with us on our disappointment, we all agreed that the two teams are in a period of great rivalry that makes every match a nail-biter and it's all good. We parted with the words, "See you next year for the decider." Smiles all 'round.
Next, a local couple walked into the cake store. They looked confused so we showed them where to get a ticket so they could be served in their turn. The male then asked, "Are youse from Sydney?" When we said we were, he replied in a sullen tone, "I'm glad your team lost. And I hope Melbourne wins the rugby league grand final tomorrow." [So did we, but we didn't tell him that.]
Now I ask you, who is my brother? Is it the Muslim family from Perth who were friendly and cheerful despite their absolute right to gloat at our expense, or the Melbourne man who was full of hatred for us Sydneysiders despite the fact that he supported neither of the teams involved?
Just so that I'm not too negative about Melbourne, another memory of the day is a train trip on which there was a spirited discussion about saving water. Two women on their way to the football were discussing a local council's use of recycled water and were joined by another woman across the aisle who is a waste-water engineer for another local council. As His Dagginess noted: "This would never happen in Sydney: all we talk about is road tunnels and tolls." Go Melbourne! Gotta love that city.