When is the best, not necessarily best?

Posted on May 16, 2010


Sunday afternoon and I was catching up on the weekend papers that shamelessly litter the place with accusations – you bought me, so flipping read me! At the same time, I decided to switch on the television to see what Australian Rules football may be showing.

As an ex-pat Victorian, it is near-heresy to say that I do not follow the AFL terribly closely any longer. Nor have I since my beloved Fitzroy got the chop. However a good game can be entertaining.

It was part-way through the third quarter of the Hawthorne-Richmond game when I switched the Giggle Box on. These teams were occupying 14th and 16th positions on the ladder respectively, with Richmond yet to win a match from eight outings this season. For Hawthorn to have any chance of making this year’s finals, they could not afford to drop this one.

What I caught was a quite gripping contest. Both teams kept picking themselves up and throwing themselves into the contest. Late in the fourth quarter, after another Hawthorne goal, the Hawks appeared to have the game wrapped up. But no. The tired Richmond players picked themselves back up yet again and scored two more quick goals, leaving a margin of only three points – one more straight Richmond kick could see them steal the game. One goal was from a tired, limping forward, who still managed to pull off probably the mark of the day, soaring high, to pull the ball down from amid a number of Hawthorne opponents, then kicking true.

This was gripping stuff. I had no real interest in the outcome but the newspapers ended up dropped onto the coffee table, my attention riveted on the screen. In the end, the Hawks hung on to win by three points. But it was Richmond who were the moral victors in that last quarter.

What could have been an absolute nothing of a game, was a real nail-biter, leaving me to remember that the ‘best’ games do not always feature the ‘best’ teams. In this case, the ‘best’ was definitely provided by those who are not currently considered to be ‘the best’. Perhaps there is a lesson there for all of us, to never say die, to keep hanging on, to never give up. In those circumstances, even if the end result is defeat, by heaven, you can still hold your head up high. And no, these images aren’t from this game, but at least they are Hawthorn (brown and tan) and Richmond (black and gold).

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