Admittedly I was thinking of writing about something about current topics- about banning burkinis or thought on the plebiscite, but decided the Guardian and thousands of outlets and the tweets of others would do a far better job, plus my lack of in-depth, nuanced expertise on the subject, but I noticed that a lot of my facebook fed was the retirement of Matthew Pavlich.
The number 29 is iconic. The Pav-lova, was something many of us now in our-twenties grew up with. Of course he holds a far more significant meaning in the hearts of a more hard core Dockers supporters. But I want to write from the perspective who doesn't watch the footy anymore. Well I'm a convert to the other footy game, the one with the round ball. More importantly there was something generational about it.
Maybe full disclosure- I watched the Dockers on TV back when I was about ten to twelve. This was when Damian Drum was coaching the team who has having an absolute shocker of a season, going without a win until about round 22 of the 2001 season when they achieved a win against Hawthorn (captained by Daniel Chick at the time)- that victory made it to Ch 7 news for a while. They only proceeded to win one more game at Round 24. Then I was watching them play their first finals footy, a few seasons later. By 2007, I was no longer into the oval-shaped ball, as marathon sessions of Football Manager playing as Notts County and Swansea City took over my life (There's a book called How Football Manager Took My Life describing some of the more human stories), and gradually I converted to the One True Sport.
The Dockers line up comes and goes, but Pavlich is always there, for seventeen seasons (or more), he is there, all the time. Pavlich was kicking goals, taking marks and maybe do a little Cazaly when Blink 182 and Avril Lavigne was cool, and kicked goals, took marks, did Cazalys today with the sounds of Lorde and Chvrches are streamed on Spotify. In an age where everything changes at almost instant speed (Magic-related reference not intended), its nice to have something being a constant, even if it is as trivial as
As i'm writing this, I'm feeling a little nostalgic for times past- when it looked like the turn of the century, when things were finally to get good, and humanity might work towards their way instead of the bullshit we have now, and all that utopian things we thought we might achieve by 2010.
Matthew Pavlich, skills-wise, is not great when compared to guys like Lance Franklin and Nic Naitanui. But that is like comparing apples to oranges, carries to tanks, and aggro to control cards. Pavlich represents a dogged mental game which explains why he continues to be in the Dockers starting lineup long after other players get traded away in the draft/trade merry-go-round. Granted the Dockers have a tendency to keep players rather than trade them away. Nat Fyfe might be good, but if rumour has it, he might be wearing another guernsey soon enough. Can't confirm, as I say, I'm not a footy guy.
After 353 games, Pavlich has done enough for the oval-shaped game, though shame he couldn't lift the Grand Final trophy (why can't we have a normal league structure instead of finals footy?). Heave, ho, in whatever non-football field, you go into, Pav.