This is Sharon.
We met the day after the grand final on a Punt Road bound train.
I got on at Caulfield station with Hugo, my only Tiger offspring, and at 14 years and five months of age he has been a devoted fan throughout. Together we have traversed the muddy times, the shock losses and crushing defeats.
But we’ve also ridden the upsurge and cruised upon the wave of recent success.
Sharon was seated alone a row or two ahead of us on the train and soaking up the festive atmosphere. With one arm outstretched along the seat backs, and one leg cocked upon the knee of the other, Sharon was taking it all in.
I noticed her fleetingly, wondering, cheer squad member, perhaps.
Shortly after taking our seats I heard an enquiring, gravelly voice somewhere just beyond my own thoughts.
“Off to Punt Road?”
Sharons face was turned, at slightly awkward angle, and looking back towards us. She had her sunnies on. I wasn’t sure if she was talking to us.
“Yes… yes, we are” I replied, when I realised we were the only ones like her, clad in yellow and black in our pod of seats.
Keen to chat Sharon and I mused over the wonderful happenings of the day before from one side of the clattering carriage to the other.
We basked in the after glow of attending two victorious grands finals in three years.
We basked in the generosity of Dusty’s pass, the joy of Pickett’s Goal and the dexterity of that turn.
We basked in the glory and relief of the Captain’s run towards the goal and revelled in the subsequent expulsion of furies past that seemed to propel Cotch up and into that affirmative leap of celebration after scoring.
We delighted in the unity of our football team and the success of their physical dialogue throughout the season.
Prestia, Houli, Edwards… too many to name, for the way they linked, shared and delivered. Requests were met with replies, questions with answers, emphatic statements across the ground, footy banter at its best.
I don’t think we discussed the Giants at all.
Hugo sat beside me, silently listening, amused, as our spirited voices bounced about and filled the space between us.
United only by time and place and the colours of our footy team, the three of us alighted the train and walked together towards the Punt Road Oval.
Beneath the Welcome to Tigerland sign at the gate Sharon and I introduced ourselves to each other.
We wished each other the best ever “Go Tiges” and parted ways.