Saturday 22 September


[Alarms sounds]

Gah…. Alarm…. But I don’t wanna go to work…. Hang on a minute. That’s Hoff’s alarm. I don’t have to go to work. It’s Saturday. And last night was Friday. The preliminary final. We won. It all comes flooding back. It is beyond exciting.

Excited as I am, I’m also pretty tired. My eyes refuse to open. We got home last night at around 1.30am, which doesn’t seem like that long ago.

After the game, Ryan’s parents, my family and I went down to meet him. He met us at the front door, grinning from ear-to-ear and pulled us all in for a big hug. I’m not going to lie – he stank. Sweat, grass and Deep Heat. So gross.

And so we hovered around in the warm-up room for a while, exchanging excited glances and congratulatory cuddles. We even had a few congratulatory cuddles with some of the boys that had yet to fully dress themselves – score.

Then Ryan said, “why don’t you guys head off and wait for me, I’ll be with you in twenty minutes, I’ll just shower and get changed.”

Around an hour later I started to think I should go and see security for a map of the stadium. Perhaps Hoff has gotten lost and is wondering around aimlessly through kitchens and physiotherapy rooms, high-fiving kitchen hands and security personnel in the process. Never fear, he was just waylaid by a scrum of media, which after the scrums of the game prior to that, was probably a preferable option.

Finally it was dinnertime, then a few more congratulatory back slaps, followed closely by solemn reminders that there is one game to go, and finally home. At 1.30am. No wonder I’m so tired.

Plus, yesterday was epic. A dawn walk before work to burn off some nervous energy, a whole day of work, pre-footy dinner at the pub, then the main event.

I did feel for my colleague at work, Mary. Not only did Mary agree to swap shifts we me so I could get to the game on time and stress-free, but she listened to me chatter on about the game all day whilst nervously spinning around on my wheely chair in the process. Poor Mary’s not exactly a footy fan, but I think now she knows more about rugby league and Melbourne Storm than she every thought she would or probably ever wanted to know.

Yep, it’s been a big few days.

Hoff doesn’t seem to have stirred so I figure I should roll over and make sure he’s planning on getting up and going to his recovery session. I roll over and find myself nose-to-nose with him, eyes wide open and grinning in a manner that I can only describe as maniacal.

“So…. still excited about last night darlin?” I ask sleepily and somewhat redundantly.

He gives me a smooch by way of answer then bounds out of bed towards the shower. Well, as much as anyone who has played 80 minutes of finals footy in the last 24 hours can ‘bound’ anywhere first thing in the morning.

And so begins the joy and excitement that is grand final week. What a spectacularly special time, and how lucky we were to be amongst it. I’ll be reporting in regularly with some grand final week updates, and I look forward to seeing as passionate people in purple up in Sydney next weekend. Woooooohooooooo!

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