The boots are clean, the kits freshly washed, the ground meticulously mowed and the siren is just waiting to be blared.
The footy is back.
But on the first day on 2017 AFL season, while many get out their team colours for the weekend ahead, I’m still saying my goodbyes.
Goodbye to Friday and Saturday night Netflix binges as a couple. To Thursday nights and Sunday mornings too (Thanks, The Footy Show). Goodbye to spontaneous going out when we actually do get out of our trackies (unless the venue has the footy playing clearly on display).
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Goodbye to taking turns in choosing what to watch on TV, to even being able to touch the remote. Goodbye to any semblance of conversation that doesn’t revolve around men and balls and stats. Goodbye to any attention or acknowledgement of my existence.
Basically, goodbye to my boyfriend for the next SIX MONTHS.
This is my relationship now. Image: Brittany Stewart
You see, he's a major footy fan. A diehard Hawks supporter - yes, since before their winning streak - he religiously watches every game he can. And not just Hawthorn games. We're talking any game that might have an impact on where his team end up on the ladder, which apparently is Every. Single. One.
Oh, and we also need to watch the VFL just because "it's good to see who's coming up" or "how those recovering with injuries are going".
It happens every year (and there have been six).
At first I tried to join in. With limited footy knowledge and a desire to impress, I studied up. By that I mean I memorised three names, learned that there's no such thing as "offside", and scanned the sports pages every week for some topical subjects I could throw around.
I even put on a scarf.
While I didn't catch the same footy fever that he's had since he was little, it did teach me to enjoy a good game of footy, but that's an emphasis on A GAME of footy rather than a marathon every single weekend.
I tried, I honestly did. Image: Brittany Stewart
With a packed schedule of study and work, it's the one thing he looks forward to to offer a bit of a break from the books.