Sunday, December 05, 2004

Bluebags r us

Having recently moved to Newtown I have noticed the support the Newtown Jets seem to have around the joint. I was in a wonderfully old-fashioned pub tonight that displays photos of Jets greats and I noticed a sign that read "XX days til the next Jets game" (Sorry, can't remember the exact number, could be 96. The sign also mentioned Henson Park - for old-time Leaguies this will ring some bells).

In these days of franchised teams and corporatisation it is good to see some 'grass roots' support of a team. It seems so antiquated and yet endearing that this little pub holds true to its team, even though they now play in a rung below the top level of the sport. The Jets biggest moment was a loss. A loss to Parramatta in the '81 grand final. The club has immortalised this historic loss in a Gallipoli-like fashion. You can now buy shirts with '81' on the front.

There is a noticeable elevation of failure to winning among old-time League clubs. Souths are gallant losers, Newtown are legends, even if they play in the NSWRL First Division, West Tigers are never better than when they're losing valiantly at Leichhardt in front of 2000 people. I know the game is big on telly and I know the Jets and the Tiges and the Rabbitohs will never get the crowds of the likes of the Broncos and the Dogs but I have to admit that there is a sense of community, of the community owning the team, that doesn't filter through with the big teams. There is passion, even if it's only to glorify their defeats. Go you Jets.

Postscript: I may have to go next door and ask for an explanation - I just heard a whoop of joy when New Zealand scored their winning run in tonight's one-dayer. I'm sorry, that is just not on.

Postscript two: For my brother, Charles - the Jets have been known as such since 1973, before that they were the 'Bluebags'. I think I prefer the latter.

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