The long drive, the old footy music over the West Gate Bridge, entering Geelong, the Ford free parking and finally: The Game begins. That’s what footy is all about…tradition.When my Grandfather first came to Australia, he was asked to pick an AFL footy team, so he picked Geelong because of the colours – blue and white – for the Greek flag.

When my Dad was born, he had the blue and white blood in him, then and always.

So, here I am, proud as ever to be a true Cats supporter from the day I was born.

Football is my passion and a thing I love to do every couple of weeks is go down to Geelong.

We do the same thing every time we drive there: Over the West Gate Bridge we listen to old footy music – just Dad and I- then we arrive into Geelong and begin to get excited.

After that we arrive at Kardinia Park – our second home away from home. Next I get a face paint and finally enter and find our seats to watch the game. The atmosphere is always alive (well, it’s Geelong of course!) and everywhere we turn there is a friendly face and a new friend who you share food with and have fun together for the rest of the year. Reserved seats are so much better, meaning we stay with the same people we know and love for a year or two.

Traditions live on like our traditions.

Traditions like: After the game, we go on the ground and walk to get to the Cats shop. We buy at least one thing and then wait for the players to get their pictures and autographs.

One day, I met Cameron Ling, my favourite player of all time. He had such a bubbly personality and didn’t mind that we wanted pictures, autographs and to have a chat. Every game, even know Ling doesn’t play anymore I wear my number 45 jumper with pride.

My new favourite player is Mitch Duncan, but I think I’ll get a new jumper later on this year.
At the end of the game, we grab our footy and get on the netball courts for a kick until all the traffic has cleared and we can go home. But, before that, we have to stop at Hungry Jacks for some dinner. It is the same every week but we know it never gets old.

My Dad is a really passionate supporter too. If he didn’t teach me to love footy like I do today, I wouldn’t be me.

I first took a really big interest in footy when I was 6 (2007 we won the Premiership that year). Since then, I have gone to more and more games and become more interested and actually have a blast.
In 2009, my family got tickets to the Grand Final because we are members. I was only 8 at the time, but I knew all the players and understood the game. When we won, my Dad took me in his arms and we cried for 5 minutes non-stop.

Then in 2011, we got tickets again to go to the Grand Final and that year, my younger brother James wanted to come along. Front row seats and as the siren blew I laughed with joy and happiness because I knew the year was over and we were in a great position.

Losing games doesn’t really matter that much to me anymore (when I was younger if the Cats lost a game I cried all the way home and didn’t eat dinner or breakfast the next day!).

Now that I really understand it, it seems fun and I want to go on the train and get right into all the spirit and passion.

I don’t live in Geelong, I live in Melbourne but I will always support them through thick and thin, good times and bad times, where ever I go Geelong is my second home.

That’s the fun of it, because of the long drives and late nights and the excitement of everything that I love about footy. One day, I hope my kids will support them like me and go to every game and well, just love footy.

Things in my life have changed as I grow older but I know something that will never change – Saturday Footy, just Dad and Anna.

By Anna Pavlou
Grade 5 – 11 years old