I’m talking to Tigers fans here… Have you had enough? I reckon I’m just about done.
Since the Bulldogs loss in round 3, I’ve been giving serious thought to choosing a new team. If you’re honest, I know you’ve thought about it too.
When I tell people I’m a Richmond supporter, I always get the same response. ‘Oh, I like Richmond’ (said with a liberal amount of pity). They think they’re being compassionate but all they’re really doing is reinforcing the fact that we’re no threat to anyone. You ‘like’ Richmond because more often than not, we roll over and gift you four premiership points! Do you think people walked around in the ’70s saying ‘I like Richmond’? No way. People hated Richmond because they were ruthless bastards that could grind other teams into the ground.
Those days are well and truly gone and for about 20 years it’s been embarrassing to say you follow the Tigers and that doesn’t look like changing. Switching footy teams is a cardinal sin, I know and it’s not a decision I will make lightly (my Dad used to tell me if you did your hands grew out of your grave to take a mark) but haven’t we all suffered enough?
I have consulted friends and they’ve been universal in their condemnation of changing teams under any circumstances (except Fitzroy folding in 1996 which is how I came to be a Tigers fan). Without doubt, changing religions would cause less raised eyebrows than changing footy teams. But imagine what it must be like to barrack for a club that doesn’t settle for mediocrity. A team with a winning culture. A team that actually does have a five year plan and can execute it. A team without Tyrone Vickery. Why do I keep barracking for the Tiges?
Last year when Richmond fans packed the MCG for their first final against Carlton, the roar that reverberated around the ground when Cotchin kicked that goal in the first quarter was chilling. It’s the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event. But why was that? Because Richmond is the greatest club of all or just because the fans had 20 years of pent up frustration to get rid of?
The team may be poor but Richmond fans are elite, you have to say. Despite endless frustration and embarrassment, we still buy memberships and support the team. Don’t we deserve better?
If you’re a Tigers fan, are you also having a crisis of faith? Can I search for fulfillment elsewhere or do I need to rediscover my faith?