Sport AFL Suddenly, footy is rendered meaningless

Suddenly, footy is rendered meaningless

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It still hasn’t sunk in.

Some things in life are just so awful.

We often have the fallback of rationale and empathy but right now they don’t cut it.

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The only thing we have in a moment like this is time. Let time do its thing because right now nothing else makes sense.

It is impossible to imagine how those closest to Phil Walsh are feeling, his wife, his family, his friends and his players.

It still hasn’t sunk in.

As we struggle with our feelings the game itself becomes irrelevant but the sense of shared loss does not.

Crows supporters only got to appreciate Phil Walsh for 12 games. Photo: Getty
Crows supporters only got to appreciate Phil Walsh for 12 games. Photo: Getty

The football family will come together.

And that will mean different things to different people – and no matter how cynical you feel about public mourning, the show of love and support, of the laying down of flowers and scarves – these actions will resonate on some level and will help many of us fans feel just a tiny bit better.

The city of Adelaide will be hit very, very hard with this tragic news.

The town moves to the beat of the Crows – in cafes, homes, by the beach, in workplaces and sporting clubs there will be only one conversation.

My heart goes out to the young Crows fans with posters on their walls and signed jumpers – it’s hard enough for adults to comprehend let alone children.

We were just getting to know Phil Walsh. And we liked what we saw. A very human coach, tough but fair, devoid of the prickly self-importance that often comes with the territory. A breath of fresh air.

It felt like he had let us in – given us a peek at the man behind the tracksuit. Warts and all. He came across as passionate and genuine, and armed with a healthy dose of self-deprecation.

He crossed the great sporting divide. The pause button has been pressed on the bitter rivalry between the Crows and Port Adelaide.

We are one.

All the talk of the game against Geelong, of Dangerfield staying or going, of win/loss ratios, of finals, it all feels meaningless and separate from what really matters – the feelings that make us human.

It reminds us of just how deeply we are able to feel, to be affected, to be shocked and saddened – and how precious we all are.

In time the game will become the game again and it will be about things like efficiency in the forward 50 and uncontested possessions and I’ll resume shouting at the action – punching the air when Eddie Betts produces something magical and doing a crazed jig with my son when the final siren blows.

All the plots and subplots of the game will soon resume their relevance but the season, now past its half way mark, feels shadowed in grief.

And these shadows will stay with us for quite some time.

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