There is nothing like following a sports team. In Australia, sport is such an important part of our culture and there is nothing more exciting than seeing the sports teams you follow hit the field. Take a few examples of the AFL:
You hear the stories – a die-hard Richmond Tigers fan leaving his family holiday in Europe to return to Melbourne for the 2017 Grand Final. Win or lose, he had to be there to witness history, a long 37 years on from their last premiership win. He had been at that Grand Final in 1980, and had followed them every day since. This is without a doubt one of the greatest stories in AFL history.
37 years since winning a premiership. Before that, Richmond Tigers supporters could almost count their premiership victories on one hand. They are some of AFL’s most loyal supporters, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house following their 2017 victory. That’s what a drought does, it makes you think the rain will never come. Then when it finally does, at the time you least expect it, you stare up at the sky in wonder, not being able to fathom what is actually happening in that moment.
Just ten years before this, the Geelong Cats had a similar fairytale ending to their 2007 AFL season. After losing four finals in five years in the 1990s, their fans had suffered more than enough heartbreak from the losses and the “almosts”. The 2007 season for the Geelong Cats was nothing short of incredible, finishing 12 points clear at the top of the table over Port Adelaide, after a dismal 2006 season finishing 10th. Coming into finals, fans couldn’t believe it. They couldn’t help but question, could this be our year? Will the 44 year premiership drought finally be over?
Many fans thought it was too good to be true. That they would get to the final, and choke on the last leg like they had previously done many times before. This was all the chat in the media, but the team and fans didn’t listen to it. This time, it was different. After a tough preliminary final win, the Cats were through to their first Grand Final since 1995, and the realisation was kicking in that this year could end the 44-year premiership drought.
It all suddenly turned from dream to reality when the Cats were up at three-quarter time in the Grand Final by 12 goals. The MCG started erupting. This was their year, and nothing was stopping them. They ended up winning the 2007 Grand Final by 119 points, the greatest margin in AFL finals history.
For the town of Geelong, the party didn’t stop for weeks. AFL was something that had always brought the community together, and now they were Champions. For once, the fortunes of the football team shone brightly on the town of Geelong, and it was incredible.
The point of these stories is not only to relive these special team moments, but also to explain that being part of a team is a journey. It can be long, and at times painful, but so rewarding at the same time. Yes the wins like above are incredible, but what about all the times their teams fell short? They did not abandon them, and instead supported them in times of need and stuck by them, making these victories on the big stage even more special for the fans.
There is no difference in thoroughbred ownership. It takes you on a whirlwind journey of emotions, but witnessing your very own thoroughbred hit the track with all your co-owners who have shared the same journey as you have, it really is something else. Take the incredible story of Winx. Every single time she steps onto that track, an excitement builds amongst the stable, owners, and the whole racing community of Australia. She brings record crowd after record crowd to the track when she is racing, everyone wants to witness her greatness. No victory is taken for granted, and every single one is special.
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