Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten – Lilo and Stitch.
The last football trip of the year brought me to Melbourne. ABD Stadium, Melbourne City host Perth Glory. The train is simple to get there, the sun is setting gradually and the anticipation of an unlikely upset is always tantalising.
City played with composure for days, one taste of a super fast transition and a Stotty goal. Perth were defensive, captivating on the counter and forced City to do most of their damage down the flanks or off dead balls.
Despite the quality on the park, it was what was off it, once again, that was the match winner.
Most professional team sports announce the starting lineup over the loudspeaker, the W-League is no different. Upon the announcement of Julia Sardo there was an almighty cheer. I almost believed I was in Perth. Her family and friends were packed tight in the top corner of the grandstand. They went into a frenzied party upon hearing Sardo’s name over the speakers.
Sardo playing on the right side of Perth’s defence had her work cut out for her, particularly with key clashes against Steph Catley. Everytime she went near the ball, or involved in a challenge the crowd lifted. That party in the top corner was contagious.
The impact on Sardo? You could visibly see it. As the noise rose, so did the defender, with a smile on her face. Had Perth won a penalty, it would’ve been an injustice to not allow Sardo to take it with the support behind her. This photo of Sardo leaving the pitch says it all. Absolutely stoked to have her family and friends in her corner.
To the same tune, seeing parents bring their daughter/s to the match. This is where memories and the love of the game are grown and nurtured.
The little girl in front of me, sitting next to her dad, had all the signatures on her Manchester City cap. They were there early, and had their season tickets around their necks to show it wasn’t a ‘one off’ occurrence. How flipping cool!
I have no idea whether the signatures or season ticket is W-League or A-League. It doesn’t matter. I have so many memories and photos of my dad and I attending sporting matches, they’re my favourite moments.
The support of family, whether blood or a chosen family we find in football, is magic.
With that, my initial plan travelling to Melbourne was to catch two matches. The later Victory v Roar match was delayed (rightly so) due to the searing heat. With it rescheduled to Saturday I had to tap out.
You see, family sometimes comes first over football. I’ll admit, it’s not often. However, for my ‘early’ Christmas, to spend a little time with my Nan and time with my Melbourne family, I would make that decision every day of the week.