We are a family of Hawthorn supporters. That’s Australian Rules footy, for anyone unaware, and it’s the best sport in the world! Liv’s crazy about her Hawks and loves to watch games on tv and keeps a keen eye on the ladder. And yet, we’ve never taken her to a real footy match. No, it’s not because I’m a terrible parent that likes to deprive my child! It’s because we’ve never been quite sure whether she’d cope. A footy match is a sensory nightmare. It’s crowded, it’s loud, and physically it can be tricky because of all the stairs and the long walk from the station or carpark. Plus, Liv’s concentration was never great so we didn’t think she’d get through more than a quarter, or maybe a half if we were lucky.
This year though, Liv has improved so much in all of those areas and we’ve been talking about taking her to a game all season. But something kept stopping us. I’ve been so happy that we have been meltdown free for so long, that I think I was reluctant to put ourselves in that position again. Then, unexpectedly, a friend of mine offered us an amazing opportunity. She works for Bupa and today they had a fabulous Ultimate Family Footy Experience, and we were invited! We were treated to an Amazing Race style tour of the MCG, which took us to the National Sports Museum, down into the change rooms (sadly, there were no players undressing, what a shame!) and then onto the hallowed turf of the MCG where Liv was allowed to run out there and kick a goal. To her excitement, she got to keep the football, which she later got signed by Ryan Schoenmakers, a Hawthorn player who was waiting for us in the beautiful room that we were served lunch in! How fancy! The best part was that the room was available to us all for the duration of the match and it had a great view of the ground, but we were also given normal tickets too. So we had the option to come back inside into the warm and quiet if need be. So we felt that it was the perfect game to take Liv to, to try her out and see how she coped.
Well, it turns out, Liv’s a born footy bogan! She loved every minute of the game, even after a few hours of running around the MCG and having lunch with lots of new people. I thought she’d be so exhausted that she wouldn’t cope. But not Liv. She was adamant that we would only go back into the lunch room during the quarter time breaks and at half time where there was more food being served! She loved the crowd. She yelled, she chanted, she clapped and she heeded my advice about not repeating any bad language she might encounter! When she yelled out, “Stinkin’ Tigers” I looked at her in shock and she said, “What? I didn’t say any swear words!” But my favourite moment was when the Tigers fans started leaving in droves during the last quarter, because we were smashing them. and Liv arrogantly waved and bid them farewell! It was footy gold, such a proud mumma moment that reminded me of the old days where I did the same! A bit of harmless footy arrogance never hurt anyone! All I need next time is for her to start a chant of “Laaaddder, laaaddder!” and my life will be complete!
I was slightly concerned that the bar had been set too high today and that all games from now on would be a disappointment! But we’ve been presented with another amazing footy opportunity by Bupa, one that has blown our minds! So watch this space, it’s going to be awesome! We feel very blessed to have been included in such a wonderful day, it’s definitely up there with one of our favourite days out we’ve ever had. So, massive thanks must go to my friend Renee, and Bupa, for an amazing experience that we will all treasure.