By Guest Blogger: Simone Kerwin:
IT’S certainly been a tough few years to be a Bombers supporter – especially for the younger breed.
Far from the days when I exerted my independence as a nine year old by jumping on the Essendon bandwagon as they marched towards back-to-back premiership glory, my kids have done some hard yards.
While I proudly wore my jumper with Timmy Watson’s 32 on the back, and swapped footy cards at playtime with few snide remarks about my team, the kids have had to grow a thicker skin than most footy-loving youngsters.
With parents who both view the world in black and red, and have fond memories of past flags, the kids had no hope but to follow the club too.
Their dad and I could not have foreseen what was to come as we raised loyal little Bombers, and as the supplements saga raised its ugly head – again and again, and again – we had a tough task explaining the situation to two wide-eyed primary school children.
Our little fella took his black and red footy to school one day, and returned home sadly that afternoon, saying no-one would have a kick with it because it was a ‘drug footy’.
Our daughter, perhaps the most loyal of us all, held fast to her team and held her head high through stirring from all quarters, including a couple of teachers.
You could say the experience has built their resilience, and they certainly have learnt to allow jibes at the Bombers’ expense to slide like water off a duck’s back.
I’m extremely proud of the way the kids have “stuck fat”, as Terry Daniher would say, but we’ve been hoping that once things got back on track they would have the feeling so many young Hawthorn, and now even Western Bulldogs fans, have been raised to believe is their right – the sheer joy of watching your team compete.
Even the St Kilda fans of my primary school days (when they were the brunt of jokes like ‘What has 36 legs and can’t climb a ladder?’) didn’t have to contend with their club featuring on the front and back pages of the paper for dubious reasons.
This year, we have seen the joy return to the kids’ passion for the Bombers.
They huddled in front of the telly on Saturday night to watch the match against Port Adelaide, and delighted in what they saw.
Shouts of, “Walla!” as Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti chased down opponents in the fashion to which we Bombers fans have grown accustomed, and almost took the mark of the year, and, “Joey!” as the inimitable Dons forward kicked a goal while lying on the ground, were enough to bring tears to your eyes after years of disappointment and un-footy-related drama.
The kids are looking forward to a trip to the ‘G’ for our clash with Collingwood next month, and are rapt that we’ve moved into the eight after Saturday’s game.
They read footy tipping columns and admonish those who don’t pick the Bombers, and love learning more about their heroes, like our skipper Hep, Razz, li’l Zachy Merrett, BJ, Zaka, Hurls, and of course, Jobe.
They will don their sashes and watch as we continue to see the Bombers fly up, and hopefully win a premiership flag before too long.\