Thursday, July 3, 2008

Samosas and Scandal

Have you ever had to tell someone you love something you know is going to break their heart? The kind of thing that you know will go to the very depths of their soul and smash it into tiny bits in one fell swoop? How do you go about breaking such news? Do you try and soften it somehow? Do you say it directly? Do you avoid it all together and hope they'll find out somehow on their own? These are difficult questions to answer, particularly when you are talking about the footy...

Once I'd completed the step by step scientific process of choosing a footy team to barrack for in Australia, I had to break the news to my boyfriend, the Handsome Australian. I knew he wouldn't take it well, especially since I had chosen to barrack for a rival team, the Carlton Blues, and not the team that he'd poured his dedication, passion and devotion into for the last 20 years, the Geelong Cats.

I chose the softly, softly approach. I waited until we went out to dinner one night at his favourite restaurant. The Handsome Australian loves Indian cuisine so we went to one of the many great places Melbourne has to offer. We had ordered our dinner and were nibbling away on the entrees (that's Australian for appetizer...well, to be fair it's really a French word meaning entry or entrance and while I question the Australian use and spelling of many words, I have to say I'm with them on this one. It just makes sense that entree would be the first dish you'd have in a meal but I digress....) a lovely plate of samosas, chicken tikka and vegetable pakoras. The Handsome Australian was clearly enjoying himself so I thought, Now's as good a time as any...

Me: Casually, "So I've been having a think about this whole crazy obsession everyone in this town seems to have with the footy."

HA: Far too interested in the food to understand the magnitude of what was about to pass from my lips, "Yeah?"

Me: Realising his obsession with the food might allow me to sneak this past him without a great deal of drama, "Yeah and I decided that it was time that I chose a team to barrack for as well. I mean I don't want to feel left out of it or anything."

HA: Looking up as he takes a bite out of a pakora and saying very unfussed, "Oh well, that's easy. You can barrack for Geelong like I do. They're a great team. They can use all the supporters they can get this year."

Me: Realising that I might not slip this under the radar like I had first anticipated, "Yeah I've thought about that. Your brothers have sung their praises to me in many a conversation. I know you all love some guy named Abbott or...

HA: Cutting me off before I could finish, "Ablett. You mean Ablett. Gary Ablett or GOD as we like to call him. Greatest player ever to take the field for Geelong or any team for that matter. Do you know how many goals he kicked in his career?"

Me: Not sure if that was a rhetorical question or I was supposed to answer, but wanting to continue with my mission regardless, "No, I don't really know how many goals he kicked, but I know your brothers worship him and they made me watch some video the other day from the 1989 Grand Final. Um yeah, he's not that good looking you know."

HA: In disbelief, "Good looking? Good looking? You are talking about one of the greatest footballers of all time. Who cares if he's good looking. He was a bloody good footballer."

Me: Wondering if the Handsome Australian always looks this irritated when eating pakoras or if perhaps it's just this conversation. Hmm. Soldiering on, "Well, 'bloody good footballer' or not, your brothers said he's retired now and doesn't play for Geelong anymore so I couldn't factor that in to my choice of a team to support. Sorry."

HA: Looking confused and probably beginning to wonder where this whole conversation is heading, "Well it doesn't matter what factors you considered as long as Geelong was the conclusion you came to, you'll be right."

Me: Uh-oh you handsome thing, prepare yourself, "Well darling, I considered many factors and I did quite a bit of research. You'd be proud of me--really you would--and well, you see I've come to the conclusion that I will be barracking for Carlton."

HA: Spitting out a bit of chicken tikka, eyes popping out of his head, "You are barracking for WHO? Carlton? Are you SERIOUS? Get outta here--you can't barrack for Carlton. They may be going okay this season, but they've got nothin' on Geelong. How'd you come to this anyway?"

Me: Wondering how much of my scientific method I should explain to him. Tactfully, "I'd really rather not reveal my method but please understand this isn't a decision I take lightly. I've really put some deep thought into this (does drooling over photos of SOS count as thought?) and I just want you to respect my choice."

HA: Smiling cynically, "Ok, fine. You want to barrack for Carlton? Go ahead, barrack for Carlton. But keep in mind that I barrack for Geelong, my brothers barrack for Geelong, my Uncles barrack for Geelong--my entire extended family barracks for Geelong and the Geelong games are the only games we are going to go and see. So you can join us in our love for the greatest club in the comp (that's Aussie for competition) and come along to the games and enjoy yourself or you can sell yourself short and become a Bluebagger (slang for Carlton supporter) and go to the one game of the season when Geelong plays Carlton and we kick your arse (that's Aussie for ass).

Me: What? Did he just say I'd only get to go to one game if I barrack for Carlton? Sweet. This whole Carlton thing has worked out better than I thought it would. "Well, I know it's hard for you to take, but I'm going to stick with the Blues. I'm willing to accept the fact that I may only be able to attend one game this year. I'd rather that than having to compromise my personal choice just to jump on your bandwagon."

HA: "Done."

Me: "Done."

Learn the Lingo
Bluebagger=Carlton supporter

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