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Magpies and Learning


How to be a “Magpie” Supporter

The Collingwood football club, affectionately known as the Magpies, was established in 1892. It is an Australian Football League team and is situated in Melbourne. A city, known for its passionate sports followers. When the Club first started operating it was considered the working class or poor man’s club but the Magpie team soon made its mark and became very powerful. By the mid 1930s Collingwood had won 11 premierships, no mean feat. This didn’t last, however, and the club endured a 32 year premiership drought between 1958 and 1990. The interesting fact about this, though was that they actually participated in nine Grand Finals (losing eight and drawing one). During this time opposition clubs and the media developed the term “collywobbles”, inferring that our team could get to the finals but got the wobbles and fell over on the most important day of the year. The collywobbles, however, were put to sleep in 1990 when Collingwood, again won a premiership. My years of support fall well short of the 125 years Collingwood have been in existence. I jumped on the bandwagon after their 1990 premiership and became a member in 1991. I had always “followed” the Magpies as I came from the same township as Bobby Rose, a wonderful, player, coach and president of the Collingwood Football Club. The Magpies have a huge membership, tipping 80,000 in 2015 but has fallen behind in the last few years as the team has fallen down the ladder.

There are many people involved in football in many different levels. In this post I provide my perception of 3 categories of “footy” people.

Followers: go about their own business at the weekends checking on the scores periodically. They aren’t too fussed about the outcome.

Barrackers: Always make sure that they see or hear the game, but they don’t see themselves as part of the “Magpie Army”. They focus on the negatives and never look for solutions. They always know better than anyone else and call for players to be dropped and coaches to be sacked. If at a game they often jeer and shout at the players. Their approach is very individual, not tea.

Supporters: Takes an active interest in the club and team and genuinely wants success for the team (not just for themselves). They cheer the team onto success through the good and the bad.

Some tips for being a Magpie Supporter:

  • Become a financial member, where possible, a membership with a reserved seat under cover. Use the direct debit and roll over method so you don’t notice the funds disappearing.
  • Attend every game (even interstate, if possible) as well as recording the TV coverage so that you can watch the game from another perspective if you win. You don’t have to watch the replay if we don’t win.
  • Look for omens that should predict a win, e.g. Magpies on the nature strip or powerlines (has to be at least 6 of them). Hope like mad that you don’t see crows or eagles etc that represent the opposing side.
  • Wear your black and white with pride.
  • Use any strategies you can think of to put off opposition players when they are kicking for goal, e.g. whisper “miss, miss, miss” as they run up to kick. I managed to get the opposition to kick 11 points this weekend.
  • When desperate; pray. You may laugh, but we were behind by 8 goals once and a disgruntled member (who was not behaving as a supporter) responded to my suggestion that we would come back in the second half with… “we will need a miracle for that to happen”. At that time Mary MacKillop was in need of another miracle so I prayed that we would come back (I had a feeling she would be a Collingwood supporter), and you guessed it, we came back and won. Not sure if they counted that miracle as criteria for her sainthood!
  • Cheer passionately, but not abusively. It is only a game, after all.
  • Support your players, look for the positives, not the negatives
  • Acknowledge good play. If you could do better you would be out there.
  • Never leave a game early (even when getting beaten, it’s hailing or snowing). You are allowed to leave your seats before they play the opposition team’s theme song
  • Follow the club on Facebook and twitter and comment appropriately. Ignore those who have no idea of net etiquette on social media.
  • Smile for a week when we win, attempt to remain positive until the next game if beaten. Stand tall when others feel they have to comment on how poorly Collingwood played.
  • Practice resilience and optimism skills learned over the years. “One day at a time”. “There’s always next week”.
  • Use your membership to highlight your ability to be loyal and resilient during a job interview. True, I used this and it worked.
  • Follow the motto “Side by Side” religiously. It is amazing how good it is to feel part of something so big.
  • Accept that you are going to do ridiculous things, like wear your “lucky” undies, each week or follow a particular routine.
  • Rejoice in the fact that other team members will be jealous of the Mighty Magpie Army.
  • Watch football shows and devour newspapers for news about the team.
  • Attend Club functions, such as the Copeland Trophy and member forums.
  • Always remember that supporters play an important role…
  • Don’t opt out when the going gets tough.

Message for education:

Plan: Have a clear aim and all the tools, materials required. (Apply the 5 Ps: Planning Properly Prevents Poor Performance)

System: Just like a football team, the problems or issues that we meet in education and/or learning do not exist in isolation. They interrelate with the other parts of the system. There is no point in just focusing on one problem as it may only bring about superficial change. Systems behaviour is determined by the interaction of the parts, not the parts taken separately. For example, replacing the coach may bring about short term gains but unless, the whole systems interactions are looked at, e.g. football management, board, stakeholders etc are looked at new improvement will not occur. This is the same with education, pedagogy, curriculum, teachers, parents, leadership all impact on learning within a school.

Diversity: We are all different and do things in different ways but if we have a shared goal we can work together to achieve it.

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