Let me set the scene. A group of friends are crowded around a television on Sydney’s northern beaches to watch the first weekend of rugby league finals of the 1997.
A few passionate, if not deluded, North Sydney Bears fans have the support of the neutrals against a typically charmless Roosters fan.
The match is a classic and it looks like the Bears are set for victory as they lead 14-2 with just ten minutes to play. But being the Bears, they contrive to allow the Roosters to level the scores as the minutes count down.
The drama doesn’t end there as both teams trade field goals and the scores are locked at 15-all at full time.
The exhausted viewers collapse into the sofa and prepare for what will surely be a gripping extra time period.
“This is what it’s all about” says one fan. “How annoying is that Barbie Girl song by Aqua” muses another while he goes to fridge to grab a few of the day’s beer of choice Carlton Cold.
However just as we settle in for some classic rugby league a voiceover comes on and in announces the final score was Roosters 33 Bears 21 and coverage immediately cuts to the funeral of Princess Diana.
There are howls of protest from the Roosters fan who can’t believe he hasn’t been permitted to see his team win. There is disbelief from the Bears fans who despite their long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory are suddenly slapped in the face with a cold fish by the team, and Nine, and told to sod off elsewhere.
Ten minutes ago they couldn’t believe what they were seeing, now they have to believe what they can’t see.
Some of the neutrals are questioning the programmers decision with a subtle “Who f–king cares” in regards to the solemn proceedings now unfolding.
A few others are dismayed to hear she was even dead in the first place (it’s not the sort of thing you read about in the sports pages).
A final wag mused it was all a conspiracy caused by Super League.
In the end though the tribe had spoken. Rugby League fans lost out and royal watchers won.
Now the nightmare is set to repeat.
The royal wedding looks set to descend upon our Friday night viewing time and destroy the routine of many a man and woman who enjoy unwinding and taking in either their first weekend hit of NRL.
It’s like those horror movies where a group of friends survive some axe wielding freak on an island and vow never to speak of it again, only for the same clown to show up 15 years later when they figure it would be a blast if they took their kids on a holiday to the same remote spot.
Well, if you think that sounds gory just imagine the horror of listening to a bunch of royal watchers, monarchists and G-grade celebrities banging on about a royal wedding when all you want to do is watch the footy.
Oh the horror! The horror! Talk about heart of darkness.
There is talk of digital channels coming into play but we can be sure of one thing, it will the good old faithful, reliable suckers that are football fans that suffer while the channels look to see who can cram more royal wedding coverage into the same period of time.
But what will be worse is the fact that despite my rage I’ll know, deep down inside me, the stations were only looking to please this pathetic farce of an island continent.
Because while we all like to carp on about how much we all love sport, put on a royal wedding from a family on the other side of the globe and the television towers will be sucked from the grounds as the lemmings line up for their fill.
Proud independent nation? Ha! The overlords put on a fancy hat, play a tune and we all dance a merry jig like the saps we are.
The station’s can talk about their commitment to sport all they want. I know come Saturday the scoreboard will read: Windsors 2 – Kaless 0.