The MCG is in our thoughts this week. The annual climax of the AFL season will
see 100,000 people descend on that great stadium ready to witness our sport’s
greatest battle. What a great ground it is. In the heart of Melbourne’s
sporting precinct, Melbournians see this field as hallowed ground central to
the culture of this great city.
stopped to think how great and rare the stadium is? I don’t mean the building
itself. I don’t mean the memories, the concerts or even the sport.
stopped to think what the MCG says about us Melbournians as people? What really
does it say about our culture over and above the sport?
a 13 or 14-year-old girl say to their parents “hi Mum, I don’t, I’m going
to a mass public event with 100,000 people and no adult supervision” where
Mum responds “see you when you get home dear”?
I have never seen this in
stadiums in London, could never imagine this on a Mumbai bus or a New York
weekends this happens multiple times.
Where else in the world could this happen?
can the family still afford to go to a major stadium and 100,000 people and get
home safely without any flares, riots or violence?
culture closer to ours than London, New York or Mumbai, can this happen as our
northern cousin has no stadium big enough to hold 100,000 people.
family to go to a major sporting event.
In Europe it is too dangerous as there is often post
Europe, the crowds are segregated by supporter base.
But not here in Melbourne. Here there is no post
match violence with supporters divided by lines of horse mounted police
officers, even as supporters of different teams mingle with each other after
close and brutal games.
MCG is more than just a stadium of battle. It is a place where we meet and
enjoy the tension of a game without it letting us lose sight of the community
we have. It is the place where the greatest parts of our culture emerge.
tension, we as a people experience this. Remember 2010?
football and high tensions the two grand final teams played a draw. In any
other country the high testosterone levels and passion that built to breaking
point had no release with no winner and no loser. What a disaster that could be
if our culture wasn’t as it is.
frustration of the draw resulting in violence with unsatisfied fans taking out
their frustration on each other, we saw Magpie turn to Saint and say ‘see you
next week mate’.
overjoyed on a tram as I turned and
yelled ‘Good old…’ and the black and white army continued ‘…Collingwood
forever…’. The Saints supporters sharing the tram may have been sad and glum,
but they were never unsafe, even with the opposing team’s supporters so
boisterously happy. It was a camaraderie of both victory and defeat.
Sometimes we take some of
the best things in life for granted and fail to recognise how good some things
are. Melbournians do this with the ‘G’.
to get a ticket for Saturday, perhaps take a moment to reflect on our great
ground and think what it says about the positive aspects of our culture and our
people here in Melbourne. Enjoy it for more than the sport.
to the hallowed turf, perhaps this week, take time to reflect that Melbourne is
in fact the World’s Most Liveable city and how lucky we are to live here. And
one of the best places in this town is the ‘G’ where on Saturday we hope the
best team wins and celebrate in the knowledge that whomever wins everyone will get home safely –
even in a purple bus driving 3,000 km west.
of the Committee for Melbourne and author of ‘A Life Half Lived’. He can be
followed on twitter @andrewmmacleod
More discussion like this is in:
Home Video: Andrew and his brothers at the 2010 AFL Grand Final and Replay.