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Should I Stay or Should I Go (Early)

 ~ by The ‘Carlton v Brisbane’ Clash


…because it’s only a game and there’s no actual reason to be wedded to it if you don’t like what you’re seeing. To stay is to declare unhealthy commitment to something that isn’t working, is to renege your right to happiness. Fifteen minutes into the last quarter, immediately after a Daniher goal that capitalised on the desertion of our backline, that snuffed the comeback, is not a foolish juncture to assess the match as over.

Docklands is not the best positioned stadium, owing to the stunted growth of its postcode, and there are legitimate bottlenecks that emerge post-match on the concourse, outside Spencer St, and descending the car park towers (if you’re one of the geniuses who’s calculated a $12 flat rate, spread between two or more people, is as good as the myki fare for the same journey and means the right to choose whose barf breath you sit amongst).

Go because this team just isn’t clicking at the moment – their inside 50 efficiency, their propensity for a turnover, the sense of dread that accompanies a shift in momentum – and they could do with the feedback, mightn’t realise the full magnitude of their issues unless you tell them about it. Unconditional support is all well and good as an ideal, but there are occasions where constructive criticism, voting with one’s feet, are more effective tonics. If the full 45,000 remained, if nobody had booed at the final break, it would be as though the disastrous third-quarter was a gallant effort.

Go because the last term, starting 40 points down, will be a Hail Mary, a distant throw at the stumps, a period when the team will necessarily be working on themselves. As such, your absence shall give them the privacy to know they might experiment, switch the magnets, and not have to worry about fans of your ilk howling disapproval like someone’s scratched their car, put the wrong the milk in their coffee, or bulldozed their house by mistake. Heck, with the freedom to practice without your appraisal, the team might have something better to show the next time you’re around.

Go because, deep in that last quarter, the novelty Brisbane supporters are lubricated, getting chirpy. Their revelry isn’t something you ought to see – it’s their party all of a sudden, and you’re crashing. Suck it up, you got beat, call into action your mates, your protesting kid, or only your good self, kick the rubbish under your seat, grab any discarded scarves, and keep your head down as you shuffle along that row playing knee Tetris. Be sure to avoid eye contact, don’t respond to taunts, and if you must hurl one last invective at the field before you turn away, be careful not to spit on anyone.




…because you’re not a child (unless you are), you’re an adult with a modicum of resilience, you’ve got through worse than this before. Stay because you’ve now actually missed your chance to leave, what with the aisles, ramps, concourse soon to be clogged by a mass of pushovers. Trust me, you do not want to get caught in such a vat of negativity. Better, this Friday night, to plod back towards the city with at least a few people in a good mood, even if they’re not of your tribe.


Stay because, if you don’t, the decision may haunt you for the rest of the week – in every confectionary aisle you’ll see ‘Flake’, in every meteorological forecast you’ll grimace at ‘fair weather’. And at the next match you attend, you’ll feel sheepish about being accepted back into the fold, worrying there’s some kind of mark of a false friend you’ll be showing. There would, at least, be a data record of your phone (a known Carlton supporter, via Facebook) leaving a loss, a stadium, well before the conclusion, and this expansion of your footprint would likely contribute to pop-up ads for Ashley Madison, todger creams, and the United Australia Party.

Stay because this is your team and you do love them. How would you like looking up to somebody cutting you loose in equivalent circumstances? And if you ditched in the actual sense, who would you seriously take up with? Tasmania? Stay because the good is so good – we beat a WAFL team by over 100 last week, and I’ll bet you weren’t there in-person to give thanks and praise. There’s plenty of talent on the park and the current malaise pertains to confidence. Your leaving so visibly, with winter closing-in, a miserable rain falling on the other side of the stadium roof, does nothing to boost the mood, flick the funk.

Stay while we’re going for broke. The margin’s four goals and there’s twice as many minutes left – therefore even somebody half as blithely optimistic as Leigh Matthews would say we’re a chance. Oh, the satisfaction of being at a win the other side never saw coming – it’s not the greatest comeback of all time until the fat lady sings and is disproved! With our temperamentally brutal midfield, dynamo smalls, swinging defenders, there is room to imagine us scoring 5 goals in four minutes, two minutes, one. And it’s Brisbane – couldn’t the lights imminently go bust and turn everything on its head?


Stay because even though the win’s a forlorn hope, the season, as yet, isn’t. Stay because your membership might entitle you to a seat for finals, but if you abandon ship during storms such as this, your behaviour doesn’t. You wouldn’t even have a right to consider queuing for a photo with the cup when we’re in the promised land, when our butterfly’s emerged. You’re to sit through the closing stages – again, not responding to taunts. You’re to enjoy the frenetic ball movement, Kennedy’s tardy bomb, Ollie Hollands’ first running goal, occasionally checking how long is left on your phone, and when the siren does eventually blare, and the appropriated French anthem along with it, you’re to pack up your things and get the hell out of there.

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