24 Goals Later
Empty streets, silence in the air broken only by faint sounds of screaming in the distance ...
Step outside the house this afternoon and you'd have been forgiven for thinking Perth had been ravaged by a plague. The reality was less viral but at least as contagious.
Today was Grand Final Day.
The city's most high-profile AFL side, the West Coast Eagles, had made the finals for the second year running and had plenty to prove. This time last year, they lost to the Sydney Swans by four points (AFL games are routinely won by margins in double-figures, twenty or thirty points). Now the Eagles were facing Sydney again in the season decider after losing to them a couple of weeks ago by just one point, and almost the whole of Perth was watching.
Well, the whole of Perth except me.
It has been scientifically proven that if I show any interest whatsoever in watching the Eagles play, they will lose. No ifs, ands or buts - just abject defeat.
My wife's been an Eagles fan since before she knew that eagles were birds too. She's passionate about the team, to the point of becoming extremely ... vocal during the games. So with everything hinging on today's match, there was only one thing I could do to preserve both her team's chances and the sanctity of my children's vocabulary.
The weekly shop.
The plague that had cleared the streets (let's call it Footy Fever, to be startlingly unoriginal) had left but a few survivors - mostly old women and surly shopworkers who'd short-strawed their shift. As a result, the kids and I got a car park first go, breezed around the supermarket without having to avoid hordes of tetchy trolley-pushers and rounded it all off with a trip to the coffee shop that didn't involve waiting or queueing of any description.
Of course, I didn't get to see the game. Shame really, because apparently it was a real thriller.