Posted by Andy “Agitated of Brunswick West” Bell
World weary bar owner Humphrey Bogart never said “play it again Sam” to his faithful pianist/singer offsider Dooley Wilson in the film Casablanca.
But the unuttered phrase made it into the lexicon.
In my ideal world I’d like to imagine that Rick’s Café Américain was packed to the rafters in the early hours of a Moroccan Saturday morning with all eyes on the Grand Final up there on the plasma courtesy of ESPN.
But we don’t live in an ideal or perfect world.
The swanky nitespot of that glorious movie has probably been made over into an Irish pub called Molly O’Clancys (with or without an appropriate apostrophe) or been bulldozed for a block of units called “umbrella stand – make your lifestyle your life”.
But I digress.
Actually I don’t, because I haven’t really got going yet.
It was a truly glorious AFL Grand Final, for both the dyed in the wool footy nut and for the occasional viewer.
It was theatre of the highest order. Someone will write an opera about it one day.
So in the afterglow what did many people do ?
Reflect on a breathtaking and nerve-wracking spectacle ?
Celebrate the endeavour of a couple of dozen blokes ?
Ponder the happenstance ?
They had a whine.
The default position was to finding something to be victimised by. In this case that an epic encounter ended up all-square.
For those schooled in the talkback-caller view of the world someone was to blame for this outrage.
The answer is simple of course.
It’s the players who should take the blame.
If only one team had given up about ten minutes from the end we wouldn’t be in this pickle.
“Why, oh why, oh why ……”
That reaction was and is a shame.
The unexpected and the unusual are vital in ensuring life doesn’t follow a bland path.
They provide us with the memorable, the unimaginable and , sometimes, the regrettable.
I reckon a replay is the right thing.
No other football code demands that its players are out on the paddock for about two hours and are mentally engaged for nearly three.
The final siren is the final siren.
“But what about the children ?”
“What about if interstate clubs had been involved?”
I am sure they would deal with it. It’s a nice problem to have.
Better that, than not playing in a Grand Final at all or losing one by 128 points.
The great lyricist/composer Johnny Mercer said it far better than I.