Make mine a milo

I was speaking with a fellow Aussie today about football. She hates it. What had her fuming was the latest story regarding another alleged sexual assault. I didn’t know the full details of the story but it was one I’d heard before, girls at a footballers house in the early hours of the morning. Lots of drinking,  claims being made. This is not the first case this year.
Disliking football wasn’t an option in the house I grew up in. My father boarders on fanatical when it comes to footy. Growing up I watched him head off to the local games, listening to the ones he couldn’t catch on the radio and watching what he could on TV. He didn’t seem to care that he wasn’t “blessed” with a son, if his daughters couldn’t play the game we were definitely going to understand it. 
My sister and I realized early on that we just couldn’t compete with football. We both understood that until they changed the rules of netball and one of us could climb up the back of our opponent and kick from outside 50, as much as he loved us, he wasn’t going to make it to a lot our games. 
His love of the game definitely rubbed off on me and I found each week after netball I would head to the footy to go and meet my father. When I think of my favourite childhood memories, footy features prominently.
All the men would stand in front of the clubrooms, partly because of it’s viewing capacity but mostly because of its proximity to the bar.  There was no social hierarchy, just a bunch of guys watching the game. In a chorus they’d scream “HOLDIN THA BAAAAAAAWL” and every now and then Mr Ceracci would scream out in his strong Italian/Australian accent “you bloody donkey” at the umpire and we’d all laugh.
“Go and grab us a Cherry Ripe will ya love?” my Dad would say as he gave me a wink. As I stood in line at the canteen I’d watch and listen to the footballers wives and mums as they served out the pies and pea and ham soup. I knew which group I wanted to be in. Definitely with the blokes.
As the years went on my relationship with football went through different phases. I went off to boarding school but every weekend that I made it “home” I was back at the footy with Dad. After I started working in the city I would often drive home on weekends and head to a game. We’d drink beers at half time, talk about who was doing well, who should be dropped. We’d gossip about the coach, laugh about the blunders. We’d drown our sorrows after a loss and celebrate the wins. Not once did my father suggest that I didn’t belong there. 
With my peers it wasn’t quite the same. In my early twenties I shared a house with a couple of University boys, one the captain, the other the coach of one of the University teams. The house was always heaving with people. All week there was a lot of “game” talk and Saturdays consisted of the game followed by a club meeting in the back room of a local pub.  I went a couple of times but it didn’t feel right. In a room full of educated boys there was a very tribal feeling, rituals that have gone on for years, sculling competitions, songs, lots of fun for the boys but a weird place to be if you didn’t have a willy. It was all  a little neanderthal. I left them to it. 
Don’t get me wrong. I was very fond of sculling competitions. After years of training I could easily down 10 beers with the boys, move on to the spirits and throw in a few slammers. One of my biggest problems was or maybe still is that I don’t know when to go home. I’ve been to a lot parties that have continued on long after the pub doors closed. This is why I probably fit into that group of women that Peter “Spida” Everett has mentioned this morning. For those unaware, Peter Everett was a decent footballer in his time and because of the way the media works now he has a regular television spot. Here’s his quote or “tweet” this morning regarding 2 more alleged sexual assault cases:
 “Girls!! When will you learn! At 3am when you are blind drunk and you decide to go home with a guy ITS NOT FOR A CUP OF MILO!
As a happily married mother of 4 my milo drinking days are over but I can’t help think back to the days when they were in full force. Peter “Spida” Everett is right,  I never went for a glass of milo. Most of the time I went for more drinks and more fun BUT if I wanted to have a milo I could and if I didn’t want a milo I didn’t. If I realized in the cold hard light of your badly furnished mobile home “Spida” that you are a neanderthal idiot I could decide to go home, to call it a night, because that’s my choice.

As a woman who loves her footy. Perhaps a bit of respect?

P.S. My apologies to those who are not in Australia as I imagine this post is a little boring. If you want a good giggle at some strong Aussie accents you can listen to Peter “Spida” Everett chat with “Hughesy and Kate” here.

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