But fear not my beloved readers. Your faithful expert on the weird and wonderful world of sport is here to guide you through the various dos and don’ts to ensure you don’t fall foul of your hosts (or the sexy brunette in the footy socks…or even that handsome fellow with his guns out in the hawks jumper).
The first rule, which is often overlooked, is to wear comfortable and functional footwear. What do I mean by functional? Well I’m glad you asked. Your shoes should enable you to stroll comfortably and swiftly down to the local park at half time in the game and, most importantly, kick a footy around. It does not matter if you are hopeless; your struggle will ensure hilarity ensues for the group while also making others feel better about their own abilities. Yes, it is ok to suck. It is not, however, ok to not join in because you stupidly wore thongs, high heels or any other inappropriate footwear. Remember people, it’s a team game and we are only as strong as our weakest link.
The second rule addresses a common problem when attending barbeques in general. What do you bring? If your host is male you will insult his manliness if you bring meat. Do you think he doesn’t know how much meat to supply for a grand final barbeque? He’s a man isn’t he???? That same man will probably not have any salad though, unless he has a girlfriend, so bringing salad is acceptable…if you are a lady.
Turning up with a nice bottle of wine is fraught with danger as, depending on the group, you may end up ostracised for the rest of the afternoon. Bring a six pack of beer and you better make sure they are the only beers you will be drinking. So how do you avoid all these potential pit falls? Easy, bring a slab. Even if it is cheap and nasty it will be appreciated by the majority. You’ll be viewed as a team player and have unfettered access to anything on offer. Grab a beer from the esky that’s more expensive than the slab you bought? Nobody will bat an eyelid. Somebody breaks out the spirits? Get to the font of the queue for a shot my friend, you earned it. Not enough hamburgers or shaslicks for everyone? It won’t be you who misses out, team player!
So you are now dressed appropriately with your slab under your arm. What about the game itself? This will be the topic of much of the discussion during the afternoon so it is important to be prepared. If someone asks you who is going to win for the love of god please don’t say ‘I don’t know anything about football’ in a manner that suggests this is something that you are actually proud of. It might very well be the case and that is perfectly fine on any other of the 365 days of the year, but not today. Today you need to pick a tribe and swear your temporary allegiance.
Which brings me to the title of this little piece. The two combatants on Saturday will be the Hawthorn Hawks and the Fremantle Dockers. The slightly more derogatory names in the title refer mainly to the colours that make up each team’s jumper. The Dockers home strip is purple with a white V, hence they are the Purple Pricks. Although just to confuse matters they will be wearing white with a purple V on Saturday. The Hawks meanwhile wear brown and gold stripes and were dubbed decades ago as the Poo and Wees because of this. Nothing like a bit of classic toilet humour.
So there you have it. Are you a Purple Prick or a Poo and Wee? It’s important that you refer to them in this manner when asked the inevitable question, “Who you are supporting?”. To a serious football follower this speaks more about your knowledge of our great game than any trumped up garbage about stoppages or tackling pressure. Feel free to pick either side unless of course your host is a lifelong follower of one of them, in which case to support the opposition would be to declare yourself a mortal enemy.
Follow these simple rules my friends and you are sure to enjoy yourself. Ride the bumps and bruises with your chosen tribe, imbibe on your hosts generous offerings and really celebrate one of the great Australian cultural traditions.
For the record I think the Poo and Wees are just going to get over the line. Jarrad Roughead to kick the first goal and the Skipper, Luke Hodge, to win the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground.
Roll on Saturday! I’m off to buy a slab.