Adam Goodes is going on holiday.
Presumably, right up until the siren sounded at the end of Saturday night’s game, his date of departure was flexible. If the result of the Sydney Swans finals game against North Melbourne had gone differently, it’s highly unlikely that a sun-lounger with his name on it would have an urgent pull on one of Australia’s finest footballers.
But the Swans lost. Their season is over. And with it, 35-year-old Adam Goodes’ career on the football field.
After 18 years and 372 games, Goodes is retiring.
Typically, in these instances, veteran footballers can expect an almighty send-off. A lap of their ground, flanked by mentors and loved ones, perhaps in an open-topped car in a flurry of ticker-tape, perhaps borne aloft on their team-mates’ shoulders. A drive-around the MCG on Grand Final day is the gold standard for bidding farewell to a legend.
Not for Goodes. The man, an Australian of the Year who has won two Brownlow medals, two premierships and a four-time All Australian is going on holiday.
Packing up and getting the hell out of Australia with as little fanfare as possible.
And who could blame him?
There isn’t a person in the land who doesn’t know that Adam Goodes has had a tough year.
His struggles at the hands and mouths of rival fans as they flung their hatred at him in a torrent of boos and bellows sparked a national debate about whether his public hounding was a race issue.
It was a race issue.
And Goodes enraged every armchair bigot in the land by daring to call it out.
It got him nowhere. Back on the ground, back being booed, destined to be asked about the incident, and little else, for years and years to come.
Apparently, the price for popping the cork on the genie’s bottle of race and football is your legacy.
Because Goodes has reportedly decided to forfeit his right to a lap of honour. Aware that participating in the Grand Final could spark a fresh round of booing that will mark and mar the event, he is bowing out, going on holiday. Leaving quietly.
“I really think people would still boo him,” Former AFL footballer and commentator Tim Watson told SEN radio today about what would happen if Goodes did a lap at the MCG.