I grew up in Essendon with a father who barracked for Essendon and a brother who barracked for Footscray.
It never occurred to me to question why I too barracked for Footscray, it was just the way it was.
It was only after reading the Bulldog Tragician articles that I asked my 68 yo brother how come we barrack for the doggies and he said Dad had taken him to his first footy match Essendon Vs Bulldogs and the doggies won. Henceforth we were Doggies supporters much to our father's displeasure. As you would know the sister does not argue with the older brother if that's the decision made if she knows what is good for her.
We reckoned we had it in our blood as our Great Uncle Tom Grimshaw played for South Melbourne and Footscray in the VFA.
I would meet up with a girl in my class and her boyfriend. She lived in Ballarat Road and we would meet behind the Barkly St goals every home game. I used to catch the tram from North Essendon to Moonee Ponds junction and catch the red bus to the top of Williamstown Road near the Rising Sun Hotel and walk to the ground. I was aged 12 -1 4 years old and thought nothing of getting myself there and back on my own and nor it seems did my parents.
We would stand on empty cans to see the games and cheer our hearts out win or lose. It was always: 'we kept them to a reasonable score, we stayed with them until the last quarter, if only we hadn't missed all those chances.' There we were, week after week, in the howling wind and rain that was typical of footy weather in the 60's and 70's.
Saturday night would be waiting for the Herald and the Sporting Globe to be delivered to our home on to read all about it win or lose.
After church on Sunday we would watch World of Sport at 12 o'clock hoping to see some footage which was seldom shown.
I clearly remember watching Teddy Whitten, Bobby Spargo, John Schultz, John Jillard et al. The 3 Brownlow Medallists who departed the club Barry Round, Bernie Quinlan and later on Brian Wilson, where they enjoyed their success at other clubs.
Later it was Scott Wynd, Dougie on the wing , Kelvin Templeton kicking 18 goals against St Kilda (not sure if I have got that right) and more recently Johnno, Chris Grant , Libba, and all the others who were the goods leading up to our 97 thrust.
I was there in 1997 at the preliminary final - i flew down from Newcastle full of expectation and I really thought we had it at 3 quarter time together with every other doggie supporter that day.
I can still remember those sad and forlorn faces of our supporters, old and young openly weeping a sa result of our loss.
Subsequently I have been to the footy a few times - not as many as I would have like and seen them in the latter noughties thumping the Pies and many other teams which always brought a smile to my face.
At the end of every season it always brings such promise. I think I can say with certainty that I have no regrets for following the Doggies for the best part of 60 years. Occasionally I dared to think it would have been nice to see us in a Grand final since 1961.Generally this occurs when I talk footy to my cousins who all barrack for Collingwood: "Well there is aways next year" .
Thanks for the opportunity to remember the good old days.