Tuesday, 26 February 2013

White Line Cure

In the aftermath of the announcement of ASADA’s investigation into Essendon, Bomber fans feared for the first time in our lives for the actual survival of the football club.

That first week was truly gut wrenching. Running into fellow Bomber work colleagues the pervading feeling was despair at the possible fate of Essendon.

Caroline Wilson of The AGE and Patrick Smith of the Australian stabbed all Essendon fans through the heart with their attack on James Hird calling for him to be sacked.

James Hird is held in the highest regard by Bomber fans, this premature attack only compounded the pain and galvanised Essendon fans who banded together on Twitter and radio to share the pain and anger.

Amid constant media speculation a few voices of reason like David Parkin spoke out in defence of not only Essendon but also James Hird. The main message was we have to give ASADA time to investigate before passing judgement on what has occurred.

The mood has certainly turned, only a few people believe the Bombers have deliberately instigated a program of performance enhancing drugs or worse one conducted by James Hird.

Essendon are still potentially in trouble for some of the practices adopted by the sports science department. However, a glimmer of hope has emerged that it could have been a suspect by association due to a wider ACC/ASADA investigation into supplement importation and the shady characters that lurk around the corner from the local chemist.

You tend to become a news junkie in this situation reading everything on the subject fair or unfair. In the end more questions than answers emerge, the angst remains.

The ASADA investigation is likely to take at least 3 months so we won’t know the fate of the players, coaches, officials or club as a whole for awhile yet.

The boys from AFL360 at half time,
 no doubt the ASADA investigation
 dominated discussion.
I attended the first NAB Cup game at Etihad Stadium with a group that included two Collingwood and two other Essendon fans. Some pre game beers and good conversation that touched on the drug issue which had permeated all football fan thoughts of late, well Essendon fans anyway.
Essendon were to be playing Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs.

I fully expected Essendon and its fans to cop a barrage of abuse from fans of the other clubs. Lining up for a ticket the queue was populated with all denominations, not a peep from any of them.

Entering the ground Essendon received a raucous welcome from the Bomber faithful, barely a boo could be detected.  This was unusual!

After occupying standing room on the first level I noted a good crowd of around 27,000 had come to the ground.

The game between Essendon and Bulldogs got under way and the relief was tangible, footy is back. Players chasing the Sherrin, calls for holding the ball, a great mark, snap at goal, some good teamwork. “Whose the new kid, no. 38 for Essendon looks a likely type?”

A game of Australian football, the reason we are all here was being played. It is the reason we come to watch and care about our club.

This wasn’t white line fever it was white line cure.

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