Victoria, the state of Australia I live in, has eleven public holidays a year. New year, Christmas day, Boxing day (the day after Christmas), Australia day, Labour day, Anzac day, Good Friday and Easter Monday, Monarch’s birthday (formerly known as the Queen’s birthday, but not actually Elizabeth II’s birthday), grand final eve and Melbourne cup day.
The last two are quirky holidays, but I love them. Cup day. Well, first Tuesday in November and that’s the day half the state dresses in their finery and goes off to the races. (And gets drunk. And gets either soaked or sunburned, one or the other, and then the ladies all walk home barefooted, or in thongs (aka flip-flops, we put out thongs on our feet) because they’ve been wearing impossibly high heels all day.) Most of us try to partake in a sweep somewhere so we’ve all got a stake and a horse we’re supporting come three o’clock.
Melbourne cup has been around since 1877. Sadly for the young me, back then it was only a metropolitan holiday, so we country kids got an extended recess and the race over the public address system. Not that we really understood the momentousness of the occasion back then.
Grand final eve is a newer holiday, and I’m not sure if it’s permanent or if it’s still decided on a year-by-year basis. It’s the day before the Australian rules football (AFL) final is played.
This weekend was grand final weekend, which meant Friday was a public holiday. Because I don’t work any more tend to lose track of public holidays now. I didn’t miss the grand final buzz, however. It was everywhere.
Once upon a time (pre-covid) we’d find a pub with a big screen and settle down for the afternoon to watch. It’s a wonderful atmosphere if you can’t make it to the game. Nowadays we stay home and to be honest, don’t even watch the game.
Yesterday, grand final day, I went out to get us coffees from the 7-Eleven down the road.
“It must be a close game,” I said to Sherylyn. “There’s hardly a car on the road.”
It was a close game, the lead changed a number of times, and only four points difference at the end. (Four points is miniscule when one kick can net you six.) That’s the best kind of game. The most entertaining kind.
For those who are interested.
Collingwood (12.18.90) defeated Brisbane Lions (13.8.86), and if you’re wondering how the scoring works, the first number is the number of goals, they’re worth six points, the second is the number of points, and the third is the total points scored. e.g. 12×6 + 18 = 90.
And for those who follow the rugby. The other big football final, National Rugby League) is on in Sydney today (Sunday). I’m not ignoring that, just talking about AFL.