Feeling Good

img_1949On Friday evening I sat up on the top deck of the Sky Bus as it glided smoothly down the Tullamarine Freeway from the airport.

I had a great view of the passing traffic. There was an order and a rhythm that made the trip feel comfortable.

Gear and lane changes took place with seemingly effortless transitions as the driver scouted his surrounds, always knowing his position and that of the other vehicles.

There was the occasional hiccup with a slow moving vehicle, a learner driver, or merging traffic, but easy adjustments were made to account for the lost ground.

After a week in Bali this short road trip into Southern Cross station was in stark contrast to many of the Balinese roads where the same distance would likely take at least twice as long; with stoppages and congestion making a simple journey complex.

I felt good, and in that post holiday way I was looking forward to slotting myself back into my own daily routines, even if that meant working, cooking meals and dealing with minutiae.

I was also feeling good about the Tigers 2019 season.

The last few games I’ve been to have seen the team pull together in a coordinated and streamlined manner, entertaining us fans in the crowd, enabling us to feel just a little bit good, a little bit comfortable and, even a tad hopeful as each week has passed.

As newer and younger players step up to fill the void of the injured and experienced a sense of optimism pervades.

With seats booked for the Richmond v Port Adelaide game the following day at the MCG; Punt Road End; M2 Row R, I was excited to see what sort of game would play out.

Could Sydney Stack take another flying leap?

Could Dusty build on his return to form?

Could Houli, Grimes and Prestia maintain their stamina across the ground linking team mates in goal bound chains?

I was dying to see Jack back.

I was hoping Lynch could maintain and build his upon his inner sense of confidence.

I was hoping that other Tiger fans also felt good.

After nine sultry Balinesian days I was in need of a winter footy fix. I was in need of the colour, the movement and the atmosphere that is my home town and my team; our culture and our language.

As one of the cheer squad flags down on the fence, Punt Road end, states “If you Love Richmond Stand Up”… and so it was with hope and optimism on Friday night that I did stand up and alight the Sky Bus at Southern Cross Station.

It was 9pm and given that I was travelling light, one backpack at 5.6kg, I headed for Platform 12 and my connecting homeward bound suburban train on the Frankston Line.

On this occasion, that which is often an arduous journey to or from the airport, seemed easy.

I hoped that tomorrows game would play out the same way.

P.S. With great company in my youngest H, other half GB, friends, Noel, Jack and the nearby Tiger army, my good feelings were not pummelled.

Lynch played a solid game, Dusty covered plenty of ground, Jack was alive and in the mix.

Sydney seemed a bit flat and Mabior, perhaps a touch off the mark.

Grimes felt good.

Prestia was good.

As a team the boys played with a methodical and organised rhythm for much of the game enabling them to glide smoothly up into fifth position on the 2019 ladder. Richmond defeated Port Adelaide by 38 points on a bright and sunny Melbourne day.

May the good feelings continue into round 19.

Go Tiges.

(Image: Tiger Fans; After Duursma, Acrylic on A3 paper)

A free Weekend; old books and new thoughts

Quite a while ago, when I was doing Yr 12, I remember coming across a book by Viktor Frankl. He was an Austrian psychotherapist.

It might have been in the Moonee Ponds library, the spot I retreated to escape the noise at home, and to pretend to myself that I was studying.

Or, I may have stumbled upon it at home, perched upon the skewiff bookshelf that inhabited the cool ante chamber near the back toilet. It stood upright next to the heavy Edwardian back door that admitted the chill Southerly wind on most days of the week; not just through the space below the door, but through its gaping key hole too.

The bookshelf was home mainly to an array of kids picture books, a collection of red cloth bound Enid Blyton’s from the 1950’s, handed down a generation, or two, and a scattering of 1970’s Australian literature; Donald Horne’s Lucky Country comes to mind, as does Ronald Conways’, The Land of the Long Weekend.

Another book I remember clearly on this bookshelf was titled Australian Pioneer Women by Eve Pownall. This text had a dust cover with an image of the 1904 Frederick McCubbin painting The Pioneer. It depicted a worn out looking settlers wife, languishing sadly amidst the steely blues of the Mt Macedon bush.

Loosely mingled amongst this dishevelled collection were a few other books, more esoteric in their nature. Among them authors such as Eric Fromm and Viktor Frankl. Man’s Search for Meaning was the title of the Frankl book.

I’m not trying to impress upon you. My philosophical readings are sparse at best, but they must have been relevant at the time and must have tied into the English theme for H.S.C. that year. I could also have been procrastinating over the ill chosen subject of Chemistry, one that has never drawn me back in.

Either way, something from this era must have resonated for me, as only yesterday when lounging on the sofa beside the fire, I recalled Frankl and the term he is credited with having coined, that of Sunday Neurosis.

My search engines’ definition reads as follows:

“Sunday neurosis, that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.”

It seemed relevant to this weekend.

A combination of things for me meant there was no kids sport, no significant social events and, of course, no AFL footy, nor finals. The structures that are usually built into my weekend had gone, albeit temporarily.

It’s an odd feeling. One craves free time, yet when it arrives, it can be confronting. The question is posed, what do I do? Or, the opposite, too many things to do and being paralysed by the choices and the subsequent indecision.

And so my weekend unfolded with leisure at hand.

Amongst other things, here’s a couple of things I did:

  • I took off to the South Melbourne market on Saturday morning, unburdened by time constraints, Paintball birthday parties, tennis matches in Seaford, and devestating games of footy at the MCG. I had company in my husband and our youngest who is eleven now. We, the tiger trio, sat down for coffee served in glass coffee cups and a milkshake served in a stainless steel vessel; not the takeaway varieties that come in the paper and plastic combo that must be steadily building as a waste management problem for our community when you consider how many are disposed of each day. Normally, I have two takeaway three quarter full strong lattes a day. That equates to 730 paper cups from me, alone.
  • Our fresh food supplies for the weekend were replenished, meaning that we did not engage with a home delivery service on either Saturday or Sunday evening. There are no pizza boxes scattered across the bench, nor are there any half eaten tubs of Rogan Josh loitering inside the fridge.
  • I was able to amble through the market and peruse the second hand book stall in the centre of the market. There, I came across a book titled How did Sport begin? Published in 1971, it has that musty smell and creamy, tan colour to its pages. Someone has inscribed in blue biro, upon the front page with a note to the recipient…To two real sports, Pam and Alfred…..(I can’t decipher the rest). I left the market thinking about sport, why is sport, sport? I left the market wondering who Pam and Alfred were.
  • The womens exhibition game of footy was televised on Saturday night. I sat down thinking I would watch a little bit of the game before going off to start my newly acquired, old book. I ended up watching the whole game. It was such a clean, open game of footy, that I had to watch until its celebratory end. It was a spectacle set against the backdrop of Western suburbia. If television ratings and twitter updates are a sign, it was surely a success.
  • With the open fire lit and a leg of lamb baking beneath a crusty marinade of garlic, rosemary and french mustard, I was reminded of that old tradition of the Sunday roast (minus the garlic and mustard marinade). And so with all the kids at home for a change, the family celebrated fathers day, and an early Sunday night dinner, seated together. It was complete with both conversation and argument, and in relatively equal measure.

In so far as football is concerned, the weekend was perfect in that it shone a spotlight upon the newly forming women’s league. How other fans felt about the bye, I can’t say. Nor can I comment on behalf of AFL finals players, will the break upset their rhythm? If so, I do understand.
As a footy fan, I think it was positive.

The free time and leisure opened up new possibilities and new thoughts, even a sequence of thoughts.

I get what Frankle was on about, that dissociative state one can feel when faced with emptiness, vacancy or uncertainty. But stepping into that space and beyond that emptiness can also be the opening for some new and creative wanderings….Perhaps a new and contemporary edition of Australian Pioneer Women with a more hopeful image on the cover….now there’s an idea and many possibilities….

Anyway, just thinking aloud. How was your weekend without the usual round of football finals?

contributed to and commented upon at The Footy Almanac here