One man’s footy fetish – Chicago Sun-Times

LAS VEGAS — Aussie Guidelines pulled Ron Flatter into its funky footy-web when he was 23, residing in northern California and watching the 1982 Grand Ultimate from the Melbourne Cricket Floor on ESPN.

The fixed motion between Richmond and the Carlton Blues, whose midfield was anchored by legendary defender Bruce “The Flying Doormat” Doull, and 107,536 followers floored Flatter.

He’d undertake the victor, Carlton.

When the Blues took the lead within the third quarter, American stripper Helen d’Amico streaked at Doull (rhymes with cool) carrying solely a Carlton scarf.

For as soon as, the painfully shy man, nicknamed for a way the lengthy remaining hair on his noggin flopped as he ran, was defenseless.

“I used to be 17, and silly,” d’Amico mentioned when a scribe discovered her doing social work within the Western Australia outback in 2008. However, she added, “They’ll by no means high me.”

A infamous Grand Ultimate episode, which Flatter recalled 20 years later when he took his seat contained in the MCG, the biggest stadium within the Southern hemisphere, to expertise his first match in individual.

In that 2002 Grand Ultimate, Brisbane beat Collingwood 75-66.

“This monumental floor,” he says of the 190-by-162-yard oval. “You’ll be able to’t see the opposite facet. Unbelievable. And to at the present time, Richmond will inform you it might have gained that ’82 match had Helen d’Amico not run out on the bottom.”

Improv on the oval

A former colleague, longtime pal and ultra-versatile journo, Flatter’s radio abilities led him to work in Melbourne from 2004 to ’07.

I visited Oz in 1999 to cowl a San Diego-Seattle exhibition, the primary NFL recreation staged Down Beneath. Watching the Sydney Metropolis Roosters play a Nationwide Rugby League match the earlier night time would perpetually bore me with the NFL.

Flatter likens the NRL to a finely tuned string quartet, the Australian Soccer League — or footy — to jazz, à la John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

“They’re making that factor up. It’s improvisation, learn and react, fixed learn and react.”

He has attended 162 AFL video games.

“Collingwood individuals hate Carlton individuals,” Flatter says from Louisville, Kentucky, the place he edits Horse Racing Nation, “each hate Richmond, they usually all hate Essendon. By no means adjustments.”

Of 18 groups, 10 reside in or close to Melbourne. Eighteen gamers per facet, 4 20-minute quarters. Twenty-two matches over 23 rounds, or weekends, beginning in March, capped by the Grand Ultimate in September.

“Such a novel a part of that tradition,” says Flatter, 63. “The rhythm, that vibe, of the week of a recreation is implausible. Everybody has a punt on horses and footy. Are you able to get all 9 within the workplace pool or on the Tattersall’s ticket?”

Referred to as Tatts right this moment, markets and retailers provide such tickets. Choose all 9 winners, straight up, and declare prize cash.

Aussie Guidelines has hooked many Individuals since its umps wore white hats and lengthy white lab coats. At this time, says Flatter, they put on the color-matched caps and jackets of that week’s sponsor.

South Level sportsbook director Chris Andrews and daughter Jacque turned followers. She studied in Perth in 2006 and wowed a Murdoch College advisor by inquiring how Carlton ace Anthony Koutoufides was faring.

A U.S. league started in 1997. Fifty males’s and 21 ladies’s squads are registered on its web site, and the Chicago Swans have males’s and girls’s groups.

Through the pandemic, Fox Sports activities televised matches. It hooked me throughout technique chats with Flatter, then working in Vegas.

I polished ways, punting on choose AFL matches final season with a revenue purpose of 10 items. Over Rounds 17, 18 and 21, I went 16-3, and give up. Sure professional bettors have drilled me properly about diminishing returns. I’m 12-3 this season, during which the defending-champion Melbourne Demons (7-0) have dominated.

Flatter’s lengthy historical past of fandom

He knew of the notorious Massacre Grand Ultimate, at Princes Park, in 1945. He as soon as attended six matches in a weekend. He adored Geelong’s quaint Wrigley Area-like Kardinia Park.

He flew to Perth, 2,100 miles west, to see the Adelaide Crows and Wayne Carey, one other legend, play the West Coast Eagles.

Days later, a neck harm compelled Carey to retire. Like watching Ted Williams or Gale Sayers play for the final time, he says.

Flatter went to Darwin, to the Marrara Oval within the Northern Territory, to survey the outpost and see his Blues play the Western Bulldogs.

Carlton president Jack Elliott, a onetime prime-minister candidate, lived large however ran afoul of salary-cap guidelines. After emceeing an Elliott occasion inside a gentleman’s membership, Flatter sat subsequent to Elliott, who slipped $50s to the dancers.

“Aussies love individuals who stay an enormous life, besides he lived it too large. We’re getting bombed . . . and I sort of see how this man possibly wouldn’t have made an excellent prime minister.”

At a Sydney-St. Kilda playoff match at MCG, Flatter discovered himself beside former Carlton player-coach Ron Barassi. An overhang sheltered them from a downpour.

After three quarters, Flatter pressed Barassi with potential the reason why the shedding facet was enjoying so poorly.

“Eh,” mentioned an exasperated Barassi, “it’s raining an excessive amount of!”

“You [bleepin’] Yanks,” mentioned Flatter’s Aussie seatmate and pal Andy Klauss, “making an attempt to overanalyze every part.”

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