For some old school Australian football fans like yours truly, the news of Santo, Sam and Ed’s ‘Cup Fever’ moving from SBS to Channel Seven as ‘Sports Fever’ aroused a certain amount of suspicion.
The football friendly trio had made a Faustian pact with the dark side of commercial television.
Last Monday night, like an old dog who not only has an exceedingly long memory but refuses to learn new tricks, the old school football fan sat himself down in front of the television to watch the first airing of ‘Santo Sam and Ed’s Sports Fever’.
Handsomely boxed and preserved in a frame above the television was a frayed t-shirt with ‘Nobody Screws Soccer Like Seven’ emblazoned in faded lettering.
It was a shrine. Lest he forget the days when football was treated like a second class citizen.
But as soon as Santo, Sam and Ed appeared on the screen it was all but forgotten. Well, for a small while. Pupils dilated and tongues lollopped as we happily salivated in devoted affirmation. It was just like old times.
The show went well. Naturally, it was dominated by the just completed Australian Open tennis and there was also some funny footage of the opening ceremony of football’s African Nations Cup.
But when it came to the A-League, there was diddly. Not a skerrick.
When it comes to paranoia and conspiracy theories, no one comes close to old school football fans and the end of the show provided opportunity for this to put this on display.
Of course, I wasn’t going to be left behind. I immediately jumped on Twitter and tweeted.
“#sportsfever ran through a sh*tload of sporting events coming up next weekend but no mention of #A-League Melbourne Derby. Is this a trend?”
A cursory search on twitter confirmed this as other old school footballs fans weighed in.
@dalmanac tweeted “Dare I say it, but are Channel Seven and the AFL up to their dirty tricks again? #sportsfever not one bit on the #ALeague”.
@mestevi tweeted “Your audience is majority football fans yet no mention of #A-League. #sportsfever” – same old Channel 7”.
In that moment we had all become “Pavlov’s dog”. Through years of conditioning we had learnt to react the same way to a certain stimuli. But all is not lost.
There is a new breed of football fan out there to save us from wallowing in self-pity. Unscarred “new dawners” like @StevieHewla, who observed,“Geez, no-one gets the tinfoil hats out like the A-League community. Everyone take a deep breath, #sportsfever has been on for one week.”
When I ironically suggested that he should get into the spirit by dishing out some righteous opprobrium, he replied, “Haha I just can’t do it! As a 30 year player and supporter of Aussie Rules and therefore a new supporter to football, I always seem to take a pragmatic approach to these things, whether I want to or not!”
This is great news for us old dogs. We can rest our gnarly paws and let the pups take over with their guarded optimism.
Why get so worked up about football when there are other sports to worry about. As Sam, Santo, Ed and @victoryblog reminded me, “Come on, lingerie bowl more important….”
Athas Zafiris is on Twitter @ArtSapphire