I feel like I need to point out that I’m no party pooper, but you may have a different opinion after reading this!
When Collingwood won the AFL Grand Final, I was thrilled. I admire their articulate young captain and empathetic leader of a coach. I respect what an enormous achievement it is to win a premiership at this level. So many moving parts and things that can go wrong, so many stakeholders to keep happy. Go Pies.
But. Right across the road from my place in Melbourne is the pub where Collingwood celebrated their win on Mad Monday. The party went from 11am to 11pm.
It was next level insane.
It was privilege at its best. And worst.
I was working from home. The doors were open because it was a beautiful day. Next thing players are rocking up in their costumes a stone’s throw away and then they’re all yelling at each other and getting on it and eventually there’s rave dance party music playing. At first, I thought, good on them, a grand final win is so hard to achieve, they deserve to celebrate.
Celebrate they did. It went on, and on and on! There was lots of ya hooing. The Collingwood theme song kept being played then there was full on doof doof music being played. That’s what really did my head in. By the 9th hour, I was really over it and wasn’t alone.
By 8pm the Yarra City Council and the pub was contacted and nothing was done to reduce the noise. My neighbour complained to the council and was told, “but it’s the Collingwood Football Club.” She told them, “I don’t care if it’s for King Dick, this is getting out of control.”
It took a neighbour storming in at 10.30pm saying “I have had enough” for them to stop it.
Coach Craig McRae said Jack Ginnivan didn’t “read the room” when he went out the night before the Grand Final. I wonder if Craig McRae lived where I do with his wife and new baby if he’d be thinking, ‘Guys, let’s read the room here and think about who is working from home, who has small children struggling to sleep with the swap over of daylight saving, who is elderly or who maybe ill.’
The whole thing reinforced two things for me. One: how much we worship the drinking culture and the problems with that culture in this country. Two: the abuse of privilege that money and fame let you get away with. There are different rules for different people.
Responsible service of alcohol was clearly breached, as was being intoxicated in a public place and being a public nuisance.
Why is it fine if you’re footy players? I really do question if that would have been tolerated if it was a group of indigenous people doing the same thing. Would Victoria Police and the Yarra Council turn a blind eye then? I doubt it.
I asked my friend and Australia’s leading Alcohol Mindset Coach for her comment. “As professional, well recognised sportspeople who are seen as role models, I believe there is an opportunity and responsibility for them to show that you can celebrate and let your hair down without pushing things to excess. Yes, enjoy yourself and have a few drinks but does this need to unravel into a 12+ hour drinking session that can lead to poor decisions and bad behaviour?”
I’ll leave it to you to decide what your response is to that!