They madden no one more than my brother.
It pains him to follow them, yet he does so forensically.
They drive him to aggressive distraction, yet he cannot stop with them.
It’s a deeply complicated business. To cope, he does what we do when those we love but wish to Christ we didn’t love disappoint and pain us – he treats them with obsessive cruelty and holds them in serious contempt.
And while he claims to wish he could quit them, somewhere, in the dark recesses of his brain and bone marrow, there is great love and tenderness for the Raiders. The conflict this creates - great and abiding loyalty overlaid with everyday weariness and woe – is essentially what makes him a self-hating Raider fan.
My phone reception was down all night so we didn’t get to exchange the usual stream of profound and brutal texts. He doesn’t have Foxtel so he goes out in public to watch them and this probably magnifies his pain when they lose but he seems to like sitting among down-and-outs and listening to their unique commentary and some of the things he hears we immediately incorporate into our own commentary, like a few years ago, when Daniel Vidot made a break, and an old man stiffened, sat up ramrod straight and screamed “RUN YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” We use that one a lot.
In the early hours of the morning my sleep was ruptured by my phone barring up and receiving texts, including the mysterious question from my best friend: “Are you the feminist environmental league????” but mostly coming from my brother.
They are looking alright but no better than the Warriors. What happened to Shillo? Is Earl down too?William called. No voicemail message was left.God Croker is a ball hog – pass it to your winger you fool IT’S A TEAM SPORT.William called. No voicemail was left.This is turning into rot.William called. No voicemail was left.Total rot.William called. No voicemail was left.This is the worst set I have ever seen.William called. No voicemail was left.This is killing me.
Apparently it didn’t kill him because after he’d left (“the place went OFF after that last Lee try!”) and returned home he had the wherewithal to call my old broke-down phone, which I had had the wherewithal to switch on, and after raving excitedly about the mystifying nature of the Raiders, which is what we do following 90% of their wins and most of their losses too when I think about it, he said “Alright I have to go – my Kiev’s will be overdone – I slipped home at halftime to put them in the oven – but I tell you, if they’d lost I would have come home and thrown them against the wall!”
He would have, too, and the thing is it requires almost no imagination to envision the circumstances in which this could have occurred. Maddening.