Thanks, Demons, for finally giving us hope
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Thanks, Demons, for finally giving us hope

"The moon’s a harsh mistress" sang the inimitable Joe Cocker. So is sport, which might be one reason sport and I have never exactly been intimate. Sport is a capricious and unreliable love, a heart-breaker, at least if you barrack for the Melbourne Football Club.

When will the Demons' fairytale end?

When will the Demons' fairytale end?Credit:AAP

My beloved started going for the Dees when he was eight; they were the dominant VFL club and had won three premierships in six years. Since those heady days, however, there has been barely a sniff of success. Last time they made the magic final eight was in 2006. As current captain Nathan Jones put it recently, "They [our supporters] have had 12 years of misery."

And now, at last, Melbourne not only made it into the finals, but, to the surprise of many, won their first final against Geelong.

We were there, soaking up the electric atmosphere. The first quarter was a blistering annihilation of the Cats. In the second quarter, Melbourne did not kick a single goal, and my spirits plummeted. "Here we go again, bloody Melbourne," I might have been heard to mutter under my breath.

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But if we were failing to kick straight, so was Geelong and it was our night – a fierce match of attrition with dogged tackling that got us convincingly over the line.

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As we stomped and cheered and clapped, jumped up and down and sang It’s a Grand Old Flag till we were hoarse, I allowed myself to be carried away with the sheer joy of the moment, rejoicing with the thousands of fans who had waited so long for a night like this.

I didn’t let myself think of this week’s match, which we may not win, and even if we do, the one after that, and then the grand final itself if, by some miracle, we get that far. For once, I didn’t look ahead, anxiously, to all the things that might go wrong, I simply revelled in a fine moment, the memory of which will stay with me.

I recall letting my hair down at a cousin’s wedding shortly before my mother died, putting my grief, anxiety and weariness on hold, celebrating a moment of love and joy. Life is fraught, and we do well, when a moment of celebration arrives, to park our worries and dance the night away. Or throw our arms in the air and, even though it’s late and we’re exhausted, and the train at Jolimont will be heaving, singing the Dees song one more time.

Clare Boyd-Macrae is an Age contributor.