Friday, 20 March 2020

Press Pause - Altona Magic 1 South Melbourne 1

Late, late, late, not that anyone cares, least of all me. There are bigger things to worry about these days, but nevertheless, to the game itself. Oh, dear. A late flurry of activity doesn't make up for the fact that before that it was slop central from both teams. That would've been fine, well not fine but bearable, well maybe not even that, had we not gifted Magic with the opening goal of the game.

Picture this: Daniel Clarke down and injured in the other half of the field for some time, the referee not stopping the game, it's his prerogative I suppose. You assume that the South players are aware that Clark is down, and should at least kill the play, after all, there's only a short time left before halftime, and who'd want to concede at that particular moment?

But Jake Marshall clears up the line instead of out, the ball comes back our way, and if Moses faced a Red Sea made up of South defenders he wouldn't have needed his magic rod or God's help to get through to the other side.

Turns out the only way to get back any sort of dignity is for two unlikely things to happen, most of which involve a short corner. The corner is played short to Melvin Becket, who doesn't trip over the ball, doesn't sky it, and doesn't shank it. Instead he chips the ball expertly to Brad Norton, who the Magic defense treated with due social distancing respect by being nowhere near him. Norton headed it, it went in, and we got a point we were probably due, but geez it felt crap getting it anyway.

And as I realised a little later than I would have liked, here was Brad Norton scoring from a short corner, five a half years after I'd admonished him for taking a short corner in Shepparton.

There must have been some latent belief among some of the players that they were better than a side like the battling Altona Magic, but where was the proof of that on the day? Nowhere to be found, of course, and whatever positive vibes the squad may have brought into the season must've be near gone. So we've only lost one game, gone unbeaten for four games in a row, but damn if we don't make scoring look like an absolute chore, among our sundry other deficiencies.

But that's all by the by now. The real question last Saturday, the one that went more or less unspoken, was should anyone have even been at the game? Was the presence of the two teams and the smattering of supporters who turned up just being selfish, merely kidding themselves that the COVID-19 social distancing recommendations didn't apply to them, or just following orders in the vacuum of decision making created by the slow moving state and national federations?

I admit to feeling selfish being there, as if actually, being at a South game is an optional experience, not a mandatory unless absolutely unavoidable one. Would I have gone tomorrow to Dandenong tomorrow if the game was on? I'd like to think at this stage probably not, but also: maybe? What would people think if I coughed or sneezed. What would I think about myself? It's not a flattering thing to think about oneself, but at least this matter has been taken out of our hands.

Now there's the matter of what happens now, and what happens next. Who's paying the bills, who's due bills, and once we get through the other side of the pandemic, will anyone or at least enough still care?

Next game
Not until at least after April 14.

Final thought
So what do we do now?

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