Football is more than a game

By Riverine Herald

I HAD the privilege of playing in the One and All Inclusion game on Sunday.

This was truly a wonderful experience to be a part of.

Being in this industry, I spend most of my time thinking about, talking about, or writing about football.

People will tell you that it’s just a game, footy — I don’t buy it.

For thousands in this country — players, officials, journalists, marketers, the list goes on — football is actually our lives.

It’s what we spend all day doing, it’s how we make a living.

So when people say it’s ‘‘just a game’’, I actually think it shows a lack of understanding of just what the game is.

And the interesting thing for me is that Sunday’s game in no way changed that view.

If anything, it strengthened it.

For this team, footy really isn’t just a game.

Footy provides them with something special.

It’s an opportunity for these wonderful young people to just get out and play.

This isn’t a job, but it means just as much to them as anyone.

This is an opportunity for these men and women to spend time together, bonding over nothing more than a mutual love of the game.

It’s something we all love to do.

This is where they develop a lot of their friendships.

Some of my greatest friendships on this earth have been developed at football clubs.

Hell, in this region, the majority of my friends are the blokes I play footy with at Girgarre.

But the game gave a number of us an opportunity to team up with the Rockets, and get to learn a bit about how the club works.

And, if I’m brutally honest, a football lesson!

My buddy on the day — who might I add was getting Tom Mitchell-level numbers of the footy in the first half — was insane with his energy.

I am a rather large, slightly unfit (though far better than the last time I mentioned my fitness, I’ll tell you that!) bloke.

But starting on the half-forward flank, it didn’t take long before we were deep in the forward line, then in the guts of the midfield, then patrolling the half-back line to get the ball moving.

To quote Danny Glover: I’m getting to old for this sh*t!

My buddy sure isn’t.

He loved every minute of that game.

He chased every football, he got his hands on the ball every chance he got, he set up his teammates and he thanked everyone — including the opposition — just for being there.

And this was just while the game was being played.

That’s just love for footy.

I loved watching this from the field.

Seeing people who my only real knowledge of is through phone calls during the week while I’m writing, now doing everything they could to get their teammates involved.

Seeing the opposition celebrate goals with their opponents, it’s something special.

Football is so much more than a game.

It’s community.

And, truly, it does bring out the absolute best of what we are able to be as people.

Because these mighty Rockets are just kids on an oval, Sherrin under their arm, dreaming about playing.

And, really, isn’t that all of us?