It's more than a game

Anzac Day teams honour those who have fallen

After the silence comes the roar.

WHEN close to 100,000 people are standing tall at the MCG on Anzac Day you can barely hear a whisper.

Players, coaches, umpires and fans stand in silence for just 60 seconds to remember the soldiers who have served for Australia.

In that minute you aren’t thinking about Collingwood and Essendon, or which players will light up the MCG, you are thinking about the men and women, past and present, who are on the frontline.

It isn’t about the game it is about honouring those who have paved the way for us to live the life we have today.

The Ode of Remembrance echoes around the sacred ground followed by the playing of the heart wrenching Last Post.  

The words, ‘they shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,’ are said proudly in front of the crowd.

Then, after the silence comes the roar.

Fans let out a scream, before the two teams spring to life ahead of the first bounce.

It gives you goose bumps.

Some might say it is just another game of footy; just another chance to win four premiership points and that in the scheme of things, really is just a game of football. 

But this game compared to other blockbuster games throughout the year or even finals matches, is different.

Teams will go head-to-head, players will flex their muscles and perhaps a player will make a name for himself.

But in the end, it is more than a game; it is tradition.

It is a celebration of those who do Australia proud each and every day.

The annual clash is one that I look forward to every year.

Not because the club I support plays in the match but because of the meaning of the day, the significance of April 25, in our country’s history.

Both teams, despite their positioning on the ladder, always lift for the occasion.

It means as much to the players as it does to the fans.

There have been some classics over the past 19 years.

The inaugural match in 1995, ended in a draw with more than 94,000 fans piling into the MCG.

One of my first Anzac Day matches was the 2002 game.

I was sitting up in the nose-bleed section and it had rained throughout the entire game.

But in the end it was the Pies who came out on top, winning by 33 points.

I can still remember the sight of Nathan Buckley raising his arms in the air as the siren sounded.

It’s certainly a game I will never forget.

In recent times Collingwood and Essendon have shared the wins. 

The Bombers winning last year and the Pies the year before. 

Hopefully Friday’s clash is another game, fans and commentators will remember for all the right reasons.

And remember, go the mighty Pies.

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