for this week.
The Australian Rules Football season is into its sixth week of competition…twenty-three weeks in total, plus finals. Twenty years ago two major AFL teams in the league, Collingwood (The Magpies) and Essendon (The Bombers) played the first ANZAC Day game and a tradition was born.
Ever since these two teams have been scheduled to meet on ANZAC Day, April 25th. As dedicated Collingwood supporter I think I have watched each game on television. This year, however, was different. I had a ticket for the game.
The Melbourne Cricket ground has a capacity of nearly 100,000. Today I was one of 91,371 AFL supporters attending and arrived shortly after 1400 to watch the pre game ANZAC Day ceremony. I have often heard commentators talk about this day. Now I was to see for myself.
In a sign of unity both Collingwood and Essendon used the same ANZAC Day themed banner as their run through prior to ceremonies commencing.
Usually each team has their own banner to run through.
A voice in the crowd bellowed “Quiet” and all the fans immediately rose and ceased talking.
In the glow of a mid afternoon April sun the pre match ANZAC Day ceremony commenced.
Some time later an announcer asked us to stand and remove hats.
A gentleman in front of me could not rip his baseball style supporters cap off quick enough.
The last post was played, followed by a minute of silence.
Ninety-one thousand, three hundred and seventy ones fans were so quiet I could hear a
mobile/cell phone ringing about forty to fifty metres away.
I have often heard how moving this ceremony was and could not believe that so many people could become silent and show so much respect for the ANZAC tradition.
In this atmosphere, while thinking of my grandfathers and other relatives who served in World Wars I & II, it was difficult to maintain dignity and stop tears rolling down my cheeks. As the final strains of the National Anthem died away the same voice that quietened the section in which I was seated, again bellowed, “Carna Pies“.
This was a signal for fans everywhere to begin cheering for their team.
LEST WE FORGET
All these photo were taken using my HTC mobile phone