Sunday, September 07, 2008

Anatomy of a Late Night: Caffeine, The Cats and The Captain

There are many things that are fantastic about the Australian game of football. The only negative is that they don't play their games at 2AM. The middle of the night down there it the middle of the day here, and visa versa. So when they play a Sunday day game, it is live on Setanta after midnight here on the east coast of the US. During the regular season, I would just TIVO these games and avoid all coverage until I got to watch the game the next day. That was the regular season, this is the finals.

So it was that I drank a few huge cups of tea after midnight last night so I could stay up to watch my Geelong Cats play their first playoff game against the St. Kilda Saints. On our last trip to Melbourne Inky and I stayed in St. Kilda, which we found to be a beautiful part of the town. On this night, however, I was only thinking about how the Cats could use the sands of St. Kilda Beach as a litter box. Many footy fans don't like the Cats because they win a lot of their games in blowout fashion, thus negating the suspense. I, on the other hand, have never been great at dealing with close games. In the one close game the Cats played in the finals last year, I was on my knees in front of my computer listening to the dying seconds of the game on the net. So, a blowout was fine with me.

By the end of the first quarter I was starting to get a bit tired. Not sleepy, just tired of the Cat's inaccurate kicking. Of their 10 shots at goal, they had come away with just 3 goals and 7 minor scores adding up to 25 points. What I was excited about was the Cats amazing defense which held the Saints to just one goal and 7 points. I ate a few more Starburst, and had another cup of tea to try to ensure I would make it to halftime.

The second quarter saw the Cats straighten out their kicking a bit, as they pushed the lead from 18 to 32. Inky's crush, Jimmy Bartel, had some amazing plays in that second quarter that had me jumping out of my seat, thus negating my need for another cup of tea. What I did need during the quarter, as I need when ever I watch the AFL, is my footy. While on our trip, I picked up two Aussie footballs which Inky, XL and I have gone to campus to kick around from time to time. They get most of their use as I sit watching the Cats and I handball the ball in the air and catch it.

During the halftime break in the action, and knowing that the result was well in hand, I began to get pretty tired. At the start of the second half it was past 2:30 and had switched to a laying down position on the couch. My eyes were heavy and my response time was nearly as slow as that of the Saints. I needed to make a decision about if I should watch the fourth quarter live, or just let the TIVO keep recording it for me to see in the morning.

I decided to compromise, as I took my footy upstairs to the captain, which is what Inky and I call our king size. I started the fourth quarter sitting native American style on the edge of the captain, footy in hand, but by the end I was laying down, thumb on power button ready to give in to sleep. The Cats won big time, even though they lost a few key players to injury in win, and I fell asleep with a smile on my face. Two more weeks and I get to do it all over again, and depending on how that goes, I'll be up late for another Grand Final.

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