Anyone who has followed a football team (whatever code) may have felt that feeling. It’s an important final (even a Grand Final) there has been the build up, the hype. Your team was even built as the favourite the match starts. Your team makes some mistakes and the opposition gets ahead. Don’t worry you say to yourself, it’s early days yet plenty of time, you are good enough to get back and surge ahead.
But slowly and surely things are not going to plan. The other team capitalises on your team’s mistakes and your tries to cling on. In Australian Football ther other team outscores yours, and yours kicks some but not enough. In Association football the opposition has scored early and it’s defending well and now in your desperation to even the scores you are risking to go further behind. And anyway, more alarmingly your teams seems to be jinxed, everything it tries fails while the other team full of confidence seems to surge ahead.
So in both codes you are just after half time and it dawns on you that your team is not going to win this match. In fact it mysery seeing your team make mistake after mistake while the other gets more goal scoring opportunity. The performance of your team and the cheering of the opposition’s fans gets you down. You want to have it finished. When I was watching the AFL with a friend and our team was performing badly he would shout “I’d rather be at home watching Get Smart!” (These were the times where most football matches were played on Saturday afternoon and Channel 7 would show old episodes of Get Smart at 4 pm).
You may leave but in some way you feel some sort of loyalty to your team to watch it to the bitter end. Seeing them walking off in triumph as their team song blares off the speakers or even hanging around for them to get the winner’s trophy.
That’s the feeling I get watching this election campaign. Nothing seems to go well for Labor. Of course unfortunately this is mostly self inflicted. Despite the perceived unpopularity of Rudd as the Prime Minister he would have at least had the advantage of incumbency as a first term government, something lost when the Labor Party dumped him.
But apart for the leaks you can see today papers why the ALP team is behind. As someone wrote the picture of Gilliard and Rudd together looks like they are eating a lemon salad. And even Mark Latham encounter with Gilliard is portrayed as Labor ‘self inflicting’, which is interesting as Latham has been on the outer for years and not part of the ALP, and he did that as part of him being a Channel 9 journalist. I reckon that if he tried that stunt on Rudd (if he dared) it would have been seen as a poor rejected opposition leader being pathetic. But that’s the narrative for Labor in this campaign.
So this while this campaign will be used in politics courses in the future as an example of what not to do in an election, it seems that we are inevitably going to see the equivalent of the opposing team winning the trophy. A beaming Tony Abbott amongst cheering Liberals and their media supporters (Bolt, Ackerman etc.) claiming victory in a couple of weeks. In the meantime those of us who don’t want Abbott to be prime minister will have to endure more goals, more defensive blunders and more opportunities for the opposition team until then.
I wish I could be home watching Get Smart instead.