PRESENTATION NIGHT is an endeavor that celebrates the links between football, life and music, through a website and a rolling series of events in Melbourne and now also Sydney pubs. In the lead-up to the first Presentation Night in Sydney on Wednesday August 13 at the Vic on the Park Hotel in Enmore (see more here), and then the second Sydney Reclink Community Cup game only four days later on August 17 and just around the corner at Henson Park in Marrickville (more here), I contributed to the Presentation Night site an extract from my too-long out-of-print 1998 book Football Life, which you can read here
It was a strange experience revisiting Football Life in order to extract the short segment called “The Barassi Line.” But Football Life was originally written more than twenty years ago, when the VFL’s expansion into the AFL was still a contentious and fragile venture; when the Sydney Swans themselves, after all the glorious excesses of the 80s with Warwick Capper taking speccies they almost certainly wouldn’t pay now and Leanne Edelsten landing at the SCG in her pink helicopter, were suffering a hangover that engendered a record 26-game losing streak (and I went to every one of those home games, in 1992/’93). Of course, the turnaround, for the club and the code and the city, came quickly enough, in 1996, when the Swans made their first Grand Final for fifty years. Since then of course – and I will never forget that loss, that day – the Swans have become an intrinsic part of the Sydney landscape; plus the AFL has added another six interstate ‘franchises’, including GWS, and the Swans have magnificently won two Premierships. And when they did that – and I rate the 2012 flag as an even greater victory than the 2006 one – I was taken a bit aback to realise just how much joy and meaning such an achievement can still have, even for a now-remote, fair-weather fan like myself. And so at a time when the Swans are experiencing something, again, unlike ever before – a record winning-streak making them flag favourites! – it seemed appropriate to take a glimpse back in time to when it all began. Adam Goodes for PM, I say!