Devoted Supporter to Fair-Weather Friend – Rugby League Fandom through The Ages

I have often been called a “One-Eyed” supporter, and this is totally untrue … I have two perfectly normal and healthy eyes, as it happens, I just have one that is completely Red and the other, 100% White.

Conveniently born at a time when the St. George Dragons were just rolling into their historic “11 in a row” Premiership domination period, and with a father who, even now at almost 98 years of age, is a Dragons man to the core, it was my fate, indeed my birthright to become a life-long devotee of the almighty Red V.

Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on the hill at Kogarah Oval and the Sydney Sports Ground with my dear old Dad yelling “Go you Dragons” at every opportunity.

At such a volume, it’s now quite clear to me how the substantial hearing loss in my right ear came about initially.

In fairness to my Dad, some of that hearing loss admittedly can also be attributed to a Marshall Amplifier, a Fender Stratocaster, and a complete infatuation with all things Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd in the 1970’s. Anyway, I digress ..

In those magical days as a kid who lived for his footy, you didn’t just hope your team was featuring on the Match of the Day on the telly, you were there at the game rain, hail or shine.

You’d get there early enough to watch all three grades play, and then, when your 1st grade side would run out onto the field, you’d get tingles down your spine, your heart would begin to race and you’d leap to your feet.

Graeme Langlands

The excitement around the ground was palpable.

The Rugby League fan of those days was a VERY different animal. Opposing fans would sit interspersed amongst each other, you’d say “G’day” to familiar faces, and everybody was polite and considerate of those around them, regardless of who they we supporting.

At the end of the day, if your team went down at the final siren, it was disappointing for sure, but it wasn’t the end of the world as we know it.

You’d offer congratulations to the opposition, shake their hand and mutter things like, “Well, your lot certainly outplayed us today, but we’ll get you next time”.

There’d be good natured ribbing and banter, everyone would have a laugh, and you’d make your way out of the ground, regrouping and looking forward to next week’s game.

Fast forward now if you will to 2019 …

As a regular user of Twitter (yes, you might be surprised/shocked to know that even us old dudes use social media), I will follow pretty much anyone who claims to be a St. George/Illawarra Supporter, it’s only natural.

Reg Gasnier

It simply staggers me how many so-called “Dragons faithful” are bleating and moaning about the Dragons’ performance so far this year.

They’re calling for Mary McGregor’s blood, throwing poisoned darts at club management, and in general, verbally tearing this great club and it’s wonderful legacy to shreds.

During one rather long, and very heated thread on Twitter recently, out of frustration at all the negative and nasty comments I was reading, I posted my own thoughts.

Suggesting that if they really have such little respect for the club, officials, coaches and players, they could perhaps do themselves, (and the rest of us), a favour and go follow one of the other 15 clubs running around in the competition.

Imagine my delight at being bombarded with responses along the lines of “Why don’t you shut the **** up and *** off.”

Such is the camaraderie of some (not all) of the people who claim allegiance to the Red V.

Sad, very sad. I’m almost starting to think they might need to build a special “Cry Room” at the Taj Mahal (St. George Leagues Club) to cater for the needs of all the disaffected, shattered snowflakes that can’t deal with the “unfairness” of not being able to win ALL the time.

In fairness though, it would appear that this attitude is rife throughout most, if not all, of the clubs in the NRL .. We’ve gone from a sportsman-like “winning isn’t EVERYTHING”, to a hard-nosed, “winning is the ONLY thing”.

Tyson Frizell

Even at the Brisbane Broncos, (who have arguably the most tight-knit fanatical supporters in the game), after a few losses on the trot they start turning on each other and eating their own!

Here’s some breaking news folks …

Not EVERY team can win EVERY week, and if your side is going through some tough times, such is life in the real world. Getting all angry and shouty ain’t gonna change NOTHIN’.

Throughout the history of our wonderful game, every club, every coach, every player has experienced a lean patch that they’ve just had to work through, learn from, and find ways to move forward out of the funk they find themselves in.

If you’re a 100% committed supporter of your club, then YOU are a part of that process too, and tearing down good people who are doing their best is anything but helpful.

REAL supporters are there “through thick and thin” regardless of current performance or position on the table.

A specific note to my fellow Dragons’ tragics .. Stop for a moment and consider how it must have felt for the supporters of all the other clubs during the Dragons amazing “11 years in a row” achievements!

If we really love the game and truly back our chosen teams regardless, we need to learn to become more patient and learn what the word “supporter” really means and put it into practice.

Jai Field

Remember, every Dog has it’s day .. as does every Dragon, Cowboy, Shark, Bronco, Tiger, Titan, Warrior, Stormer, Raider, Panther, Sea Eagle, Knight, Rabbit, Eel and Rooster.

In the words of a wise old somebody, “Suck it up Princess .. build a bridge and get over yourself”

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