Written and drawn by Clare O’Shannessy
Although most people go to an AFL game to watch the professional athletes, me, while I enjoy the game, the skill and the competition, its the spectators I find very entertaining. I think there’s a whole spectrum of AFL supporter types. Here’s a brief list which I witnessed in the crowd when I was a spectator at a recent AFL match.
The ‘Screamer’, no not the guy who’s spectacular at taking marks, but the ever-keen fanatic screaming from the crowd. This type is obviously more informed on the players, rules and game than any official person involved.
There’s the ‘Merch’ Kings/Queens’. Whether it be the wild headdress decorated with their team’s colours, or their special member’s edition footy socks, there’s no question as to who they support. They can be found singly or in packs throughout the crowd, passionately parading their colours.
The ‘Mutual Supporter’, the kind that claps every goal (for both teams) and says ‘I’m not here for the rivalry but for the love of the game.’ They’d then offer you a hot chip and a look at their footy record.
You will find the ‘All-knowing Knitting Nanna’ who refers to all ‘her boys’ by their first names, sharing her remarks when looking across the top of her glasses. She snacks on her home-made delights, keeps cosy with a rug and sips on a warm beverage straight from the tartan print thermos. She’s a hardcore fan in her own way.
Then there’s the ‘Stat Machine’: constant supplier of statistics of the most unusual and very specific kind. Forever engaged to the commentary plugged into his ear quoting stats as they’re generated from the pros, saying to anyone in earshot: ‘Did you know…’
And everyone has to start somewhere, so there’s the ‘New Recruit’ to the game.
This person makes regular enquiries into the tactics, game play and specific questions about ‘why can he do that?’
Sometimes people can’t be typified as anything other than family. Like mine.
Roars can be heard coming from my father who is now upstanding from his seat exclaiming: ’That’s my boy Chappy!’ No relative, they’ve never even met, but my enthusiastic dad feels a connection to the number 3 footballer for Essendon Paul Chapman. He loves his footy.
There are also the rivalling friends/partners, the screaming kid, the confused international guest and the retired player reliving his personal football highlights; enjoying his hassle free position in the stands.
Many other types fill the stadium but these are the ones I chose to select this time.
And what type might I be, you wonder? I get carried away too, but as a country girl who grew up in a footy-focused community how can I help but get excited! I’m there, cheering and pumping my fist along with the rest of them eager to see my boys bring home the flag.