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London, United Kingdom
I am an engineering academic at University College London where I work on the sustainability of urban water systems. I am interested in the role of engineers and technology in sustainable cities.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The End is Nigh

The book of Revelation is one of the most perplexing in the Bible. It is full of the wild visions of the Apostle John - lambs, whores, rainbows and dragons. Many Christians take it as a prophesy of the end of the world. Like all holy books the words have undoubtedly changed over time, with some bits left out and some meaning lost in translation. One such line of prophesy lost to generations for its obscurity was this - 'Then I saw the Fremantle Dockers in the AFL Grandfinal'.

Like all good prophesies, most reasonable people alive today have no idea what this means. Like the best prophesies, a small group of desperately unreasonable people have been chosen to explain it to the masses. AFL signifies Australian Rules Football, God's chosen sport. The Fremantle Dockers are the team God created when he got bored with Job. He made them wear purple. 'Freo' supporters are like the Israelites - God created a little nation on the edge of the desert especially for them, only to be invaded, laughed at and taken into slavery. Sometimes they deserved it, mostly they didn't. They were not kind to their prophets, sacking many coaches. Fremantle are a team like no other, annointed to turn their back on the gift of victory, seeking refuge in seemingly impossible defeat. The AFL Grandfinal is the ultimate ritual in the annual Australian winter festival of sacrifice and attrition, held on the last Saturday of September. Next week Fremantle will be playing Hawthorn, which is where the scriptural analogy ends. Who knows what God is up to? Nothing this crazy ever happened in the Bible.

In the beginning, I was a Freo supporter. The last time I saw them play I nearly laid down my purple scarf and wandered out into the wilderness, once and for all. It was winter 2011, they were slaughtered like turkeys by Hawthorn in the driving rain at Subiaco. My father and I, like the whole crowd, were cold and wet, and the football was thoroughly miserable. But we held true, and I am taking it as a personal sign that they will meet Hawthorn at the MCG next week. After all these years of persecution and ridicule, perhaps finally our moment of rapture will arrive.

For the rest of you, it is not too late. Repeat the incantation 'we love Matthew Pavlich', as often as you can in the next few days, and you may yet join the chosen few. And when the sky turns purple around 1730 Melbourne time next Saturday, lay down and laugh, for in creating the Dockers and leading them to victory will be proof that God really does have a sense of humour.   

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