By Michael Giles
HONESTLY, I didn’t expect it.
After 37 years as the butt of other supporters’ jokes, good-natured ribbing for the most part, it was just great to be back in the football conversation again over the past couple of years.
But to actually win it? This year? No.
Personally I was just hoping we’d win that first final against Geelong so people couldn’t say “Richmond went out in straight sets, again”.
“They might as well have finished ninth!”
That sort of stuff.
It’s just fun banter, we know, and we don’t mind it. And you can give a bit back too when you’re a chance to win each week.
But that was our first finals win in 16 years!
So, after beating Geelong, the rest really has been a bonus.
Which is why I haven’t sensed any arrogance amongst the Richmond players, officials or supporters. Just pure delight at finally breaking through, unexpectedly, in a very even competition.
I can see, for example, Melbourne and Carlton doing the same thing as the Western Bulldogs and now Richmond, in the next couple years, if they can maintain healthy lists.
And I’ve got to say, the Adelaide supporters were magnanimous in defeat with plenty of congratulations afterwards from them as we left the ground. They’ve been through a lot and you’d like to see them get some success too.
But it’s only a game. And not everyone is into it but footy and sport in general has the ability to bring people together in a shared experience and provide a distraction from the lesser aspects of life.
That’s why we love it.
We don’t mind some important messages getting highlighted along the way; like celebrating our indigenous heritage, supporting diversity in the community and standing up against family violence. But generally we don’t want it to get too political.
It’s supposed to be fun and it’s good to get away from all that.
So to all the local Richmond fans, well done for sticking by the Tigers over the past 37 years. You’ve had to suck it all up during some really ordinary times and you’ve still managed to come up smiling at the start of each season.
This one’s for all of us, the Tiger faithful, enjoy it. We deserve it!