Having been “hand-balled” Eternity’s AFL Grand Final Story – a sport that I care nothing about and, more importantly, know nothing about – by my Deputy Editor (thanks, Ben McEachen) I did what any enterprising youngish journalist would do. I posted a plea for help on my Facebook.
“Any wild GWS fans out there who are Christians? (Don’t ask me what the angle on this kind of a story would be but I’m open to it).”
One friend, who I assume is not a GWS supporter, replied there is an “eye for an eye” angle that I should look into.
My colleague Wes, who is sitting next to me laying out Eternity‘s next newspaper edition, told me that a GWS player was recently suspended for eye-gouging. Apparently, Toby Greene has served out his punishment and will play this weekend. Um, OK.
By now, it should be obvious that following this particular rabbit trail isn’t going to help me with a “yay, GWS is in the grand final plus, yay, Christianity story”.
My mother-in-law responded: “Is that AFL? Or football?” I’m with her. She tagged another friend writing: “Her boys are into football”. That friend responded with “Good idea but we are Wild Rugby Union Supporters 😂😂😂.” This was starting to read like a Monty Python script.
(Ignorant sub-editor remark: What is GWS anyway?)
(Edit: Greater Western Sydney Giants Australian Football team)
I’m a rugby league girl myself. Also a Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs fan, so we’ve had a bit of a tough year. At least we finished strong, though. Similar to how Paul encourages in his letter to the Philippians – “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Another friend responded “I used to be a member just to annoy my Swans lovin’ in-laws.” And another: “I’m a crows girl but GWS are my ‘local’ team. (But I haven’t even managed to make it to one game this season).” Not helpful, Matt and Paula, but thanks for playing.
The pretty decent Christian writer Nathan Campbell tagged my Editor-in-Chief John Sandeman who responded “Cheer cheer the orange and grey, this is the year we’ll go all the way….” which I presume is some kind of team song. Why isn’t John the one writing this piece?
Finally, a friend puts me in contact with the Corr family who are the ultimate Giants fans. Leighton was the Giant’s game development officer from 2008-2011 and spent that time going into schools running programs and doing player visits. He plays AFL and his team won the premiership in 2015. He also coached the women’s team – that his wife Courtney plays in – to a premiership win last year. In a few years, I will no doubt be reporting the AFL success stories of their son Ryder (and hopefully with a little more knowledge about the subject matter!).
“I think being a Christian is about living life passionately and understanding that we live for something greater than ourselves. Following a footy team is something you do passionately, through good times and bad, so I guess there are some parallels there,” Leighton tells me.
This is the Christian angle I was looking for! So with my task complete, here’s some photos of GWS supporters who are Christians. Because some Christians, you know, support GWS… and it turns out they are lovely!
Enjoy. (And go the Giants! I really hope they beat… whoever the other team is!)