Or, I guess I just wasn't made for these times, again,
Or, a slightly jaded version of what went down at the season launch, with the order of events probably messed up bigtime.
What a night! It was the most awesomest, magical, drunken... hold on, that's actually someone else's story. Let me start again.
I'm being driven to the ground in a board member's car. He's got recent AC/DC playing at a decent volume, and though my fingers gently mimic their dinosaur rhythm section, that music's not really my forte. Neither is the Greek music put on, but it's his car, he can play what he wants. And it's not like everyone can get pumped up by listening to Manic Street Preachers 'Mausoleum'. So us people with a more defiantly miserable taste in music sometimes just have to make do. But it's more about the company than anything, which was as usual was quite enjoyable. Especially in regards to a phone call made which we can't elaborate on sadly, for fear of alienating and offending one of our regular readers with its delightful wickedness.
So we get to Lakeside, and we park the car through the side gate, making us like bigshots. After repeatedly being called "Proedre" (president) by South's groundskeeper Argiri over recent months - which was added to in its bizarre backhanded compliment fashion by certain alleged South of the Border fanboys, but that's a story for another day, maybe when I figure out where sincerity ends and irony begins - but it does make you feel like someone important. But by doing it that way, I missed out on walking along the candle lit path in the social club... the right way at least.
After some squandered time which I'll never get back standing around doing not much, I went into the office where people were putting the finishing touches on slides and rundowns... but it was probably best that I leave that area, and so I did. Eventually people start arriving and we chit chat and eat finger food. There's certain stunners there you'll know you'll never see during the season, and the same old diehards who are pretty much always there. And then we get called finally to go in, an hour after we're supposed to have started. Greeks. Go figure.
Seating for 300, with apparently 296 of those spots filled. Walking through the spaces between tables is tough, but manageable. The television screen is at one of the rectangular complex, near the players tables, and the majority of the Clarendon Corner crew here tonight as well those who might be considered mere associates of said crew were at the extreme opposite end of the marquee. Not sure which cake eating boffin came up with that arrangement or why. I pop the sticker in my pocket... more than one person makes the mistake of sitting on their programme and membership brochure.
Speeches are made, and videos are played, choc full of corn which has its fans but not everyone can survive on a diet of pure polenta. And so we were served what I suppose they called the first course, the appetizers, a selection of dips and antipasto on which there was little room to place on our overly crowded tables, and therefore nigh to impossible to fully enjoy. No matter. Soon it was time to tug at the heartstrings some more, by asking people to buy a membership. While I can admit the fact that there were plenty of wives and girlfriends there last night there who wouldn't necessarily turn up to a game, surely everyone else would have or would soon purchase one anyway. But you probably can't take anything for granted anymore... a lesson learned the hard way.
Rama, Horsey and probably Stevie O'Dor were called up to don the three heritage strips we'll apparently be wearing this year. The thinking behind it was that we were celebrating or acknowledging the triumvirate which made South Melbourne Hellas... and everyone lapped it up. Except me, because I'm a trainspotter and I know the truth, or about 95% of it anyway. Hellenic were represented by a striped jersey, United by their amnesiac red 'V', and Yarra Park by ostensibly the main strip we'll be wearing this year which is copy of a 1983/4 Buffalo Cup jersey. So what did happen to the Yarra Park Aias jersey? I'm betting they just didn't know what it actually looked like. Hell, apart from the alleged colours, I don't know either. What were those colours? Yellow and black. Probably best to move on right now.
Time to auction off the players. The auction was split into two parts, with defenders and goalies first and the midfielders and forwards second. Smfcboard purchased Shane Nunes for a lazy gorilla, and bumped up the prize probably on a few players. After a bit of a break - was that when we had the main course? I'd been hanging out for that since lunchtime, and unfortunately I didn't get the chicken. I got veal , which was ok, but the question on every hungry person's lips was, where was all the food? The serving sizes were that modest, and sure the food was good, but seriously, where was it all? And don't get me started on the deserts. How was I supposed to eat my pannacotta without a spoon? It took about 15 minutes to get one, while I sat and watched my little chilled delicacy slowly warm up.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, the auction. The second part saw higher prices, with Fernando winning the title for highest pricetag, somewhat surprisingly perhaps with Horsey back at the club. Every player was given their shirt by a former player, who was asked to say a few words, but usually declined. Jimmy Armstrong told a Scottish joke, Jim Pyrgolios had a spiel in Greek (pretty much the only Greek spoken in an official capacity on the night - interpret that as you wish), and Ulysses Kokkinos was introduced as the Hugh Hefner of Australian football. The hearty welcome for him made me feel uneasy. How is it possible that a convicted cocaine trafficker and shameless user of women can be so loved, but Con Boutsianis be so reviled?
Former President George Donikian got his chance to hold court once more. Seeing him previously outside the tent, I was struck by how much less he looked like George Donikian in person than on television, if that makes sense. His speech inspired most, but I thought he rambled on too long without really any distinguishing remarks. His groupies didn't seem to mind though, one telling me how much she loved that man. It's about the closest we came to celebrity on the night. One wonders which semi-famous people will crawl out from their rocks when the anticipated really big 50th anniversary bash happens. And with the raffle, silent auctions, and constant and infuriating noise of people talking over the speakers, that was pretty much it.
The highlight for me was. Rama getting named as captain. It's a deserved accolade, which also showed to all those people who have already made their minds up about this issues, that perhaps we're not the ethnic enclave they think we are. In the programme provided his ambition was not to play A-League, improve as a player or go overseas; it was to earn the respect and admiration at South that player like Trimmers are held in. While the eras are different, and he doesn't have the skill, the fact that he wants to achieve his goals here, that he wants the responsibility of being captain is tremendous.
I got to hold the Hellenic Cup trophy, which is nice and heavy. There's a photo of me and one of the local larrikins somewhere out there in the digital realm. What is it with people acting like dickheads in the city these days? In the cab on the way home some dickhead deliberately struck the driver side mirror. You could see him lining up the shot. What was the point of that? Maybe I need to be like everyone else and drink more, than it'll all make sense. I had one glass of wine and people's heads turned. You may be surprised to learn that I had a good time overall. And this morning I had a 25 minute spell on my $5 exercise bike, while everyone else was fucked up. So there.