Four hours ago, Collingwood snatched victory from our tired hands, and season 2011 was over for the gallant Hawks. I've been up since 4.30am, and can't fathom sleeping on the disappointment. It's been weird for an expat from Melbourne, Australia, to keep up with the fortunes or otherwise of her football club. Distance, timezones, and the unreliable availability of live games online (yes, AFL, I want a word with you, I'd like my money back) have caused havoc in this little apartment in West Hollywood. But, in the end, it wasn't our fate to play the final game.
The lads certainly gave it a bloody good shot though. Another season of injury issues, a small(ish) backline, and our unpredictable forwards meant at some stages of the season I thought we had little chance of threatening anyone in September. But to lose to last year's premiers by such a small margin in a preliminary final...well, as gut wrenching as that is (believe me), I am still so very proud of how they turned our season around. I have only seen the last quarter of the game, after sleeping some of the night, and after some score checks and texting of friends at 3/4 time, got a feed on the internet. It was looking like we were getting through, and with heart pounding, I tried to watch quietly, but still ended up waking Mr Moth. Together, we watched Hodge and Buddy score magnificent goals, but then observed as Hawthorn tired and made mistakes, and Collingwood snuck home. The cruelest of losses, and there were tears to show it.
So, I sit looking at the brown and gold streamers that have to come down, the scarf that will get put away, and wonder if I can stomach watching next week's final without Hawthorn in it. Word is a pub in Santa Monica screens it live, so maybe I can find a fellow Hawk there to debrief with. I wonder sometimes what it is about this sport to hooks you in so deeply. When I am at my most despondent after a loss, I do catch myself and think - "it's only a game". I am lucky to have grown up in a country where we have a type of political freedom, and most of us, the finances to follow our teams, where this game nurtures a deep community spirit, not only between supporters of one club, but all followers. How many times have I sat on the train home after a game, and talked peacefully with opposition members? Yes, there will always be dickheads, but our stadiums let us arrive together, sit together, and leave together. I live now in a city of millions where the town's pennant basketball team (Lakers) is virtually out of reach to watch live for most supporters, and major sport is run as private commerce (like the Dodgers disaster). We have a magical, home grown sport in Australia, and I don't know how we can, but we have to try and keep it in our hands.
I had fun with the scarf photos though, keeping in the spirit, and here were the final ones:
The Johnny Cash hand imprints at Guitar Center
Heaps of legends represented here, and really cool to put your own hands in to compare. I did Angus Young - tiny, considering I'm 5'4"!!! - and Steve Vai's gargantuan digits.
One of the best places to get views of Los Angeles, especially of the night lights looking towards Hollywood and downtown, this is also the setting for scenes from James Dean's "Rebel Without A Cause", and a favourite in this household, Steve Martin's "Bowfinger". There's a statue here in honour of Dean, but I'm yet to see one erected for Eddie Murphy's role - hilarious!!!! Listen quietly, you'll hear the coyotes calling in the surrounding canyons. Just don't look to closely at the haze that hangs over the city that we live in. And that's not even mentioning the grandiose 1930's architecture...
The Hollywood Sign
Pretty fitting, I think, that this ended up being the last photo posted in my Hawthorn series. Erected in 1923, and originally spelling "HOLLYWOODLAND", this was never meant to be a permanent fixture. But it's become one of the most recognisable icons on the LA tourist path. It is visible from the busy streets of Hollywood proper, but when you get up into the hills that it sits on, you find a peaceful little world. Not so peaceful for the residents that live near it, I can assure you, and they are taking measures to try and curb the traffic. Stay tuned on that one...you can read here.
This morning it was Autumn Equinox, and it's time to get on with it. No more footy posts, it's back to reality - lots of exciting stuff over the next few months, including Halloween, art shows, the big mid-century show at LACMA, and winter's approach. And tattoos too.
GOOOOOOO HAWKS 2012!!!