The pain of Friday night with Bruce and Dennis intensifies as the Hawks look spooked in the first quarter. From afar they seem taken in by the enormity of playing against their ol pal Buddy. Kicks are smothered, Buddy is outmarking Kyle Cheney on demand and returns his best set of contested mark numbers for some years. He’s ready to play and our lads are struggling to make the possession game work. Already down Hodge, Mitchell, Lake, Spangher and Sewell through injury before Cyril strains his hammy early in the third.
It gets harder to watch Channel 7 as the match progresses. Bruce and Dennis seem to have caught the Brian Taylor bug of willing the team in front to stay to there constantly providing suggestions, motivation, game plans, fears and areas for continuous improvement. Its a verbal Gnatt chart resulting in becoming Shatt off. My 20 something son 110 kilometres away hooks into the match live on the net via some ingenius googling and the SMS dissection on Bruce begins. I offer that I’ve never forgiven Bruce for the line back in ’97 when he talks in a long forgotten forward streaming to goal with “He loads it up and he BANGS IT HOME”. He counters with his own Bruce story as his metabolism rises in concert with Bruce’s devotion to Cyril’s ground work – “He’s teasing us all. He prolongs. He prolongs it. Oooooh. The Ecstasy!!!”. We footnote his use of “Delicious” to further describe Cyril on a separate occasion – “He’s one of the most watchable players in the competition, what a delicious young player he is, is Cyril Rioli.” In the past it was Andrew McCleod that gripped him in this eroticised manner – “McLeod. Oh Andrew. Look at the arms on the man. Special. I love him”. “Doesn’t he”, “hasn’t he”, “won’t he!???…Dennis??? ”
Yes Bruce is besties with the besties in the AFL. BFF!!
Gee, Friday night Football becomes Boogie nights. My son is an honours year Philosophy student so is quick to provide the thesis that peer evidence supports the proposition that Bruce is stuck in that “grey” area between verbal “picture painting” aesthetics and outright pornography. Commentary without aristocracy is a pathetic market share he argues now warming to the prosecution of Bruce from a political economy perspective. This is like sitting at the foot of the master at one of those new fancy MOOCs. 50 shades of Bruce? Free 8 hour program with peer review assessment – “special”.
He’s the commentary equivalent of a lap dance man. Entry to the conspicuously named “Gentleman’s” G is via a discrete side entrance. An entrance solely for Bruce, leading him to a subterranean rooms full of TV’s covering every angle of the action. Seduced by the dancers on screen, he begins to commentate. No scrubbers here – each dancer is chosen not because they’re “clever” but because they’re “special”. “You get the feeling” that the next sentence is g o i n g t o b e s t r e t c h e d o u t as hheeee c l e v e r l y meassssssssures t h e kick” before the final execution with a marvellous/clever/delicious/wonderful et al play defining adjective.
Could we see a career change in his twilight years where Bruce calls in future Eurovision finalists exploiting the deep tension between ancient nations balanced finely through that sweet cultural byproduct that is Eurotrash pop music? To move from capturing the leopard like athleticism of Cyril to the verbal gentility on the edge of Conchita Wurst, the bearded lady who won the Eurovision Song Contest on Sunday morning following this game. “Gee….delicious….clever…..specialllllllll….wont it Dennis?”
Of course after a come back second quarter we hit the front in the third and are just hanging on. I’m thinking if Bruce pipes up with “another feeling that the next goal will tell the story of the match”, I will throw up my cheezels. A crescendo of obscenities is piffed at the television as Buddy of all people splits the centre twice in the last after 7 mis aligned shots on goal through the match. One is a trade mark long bomb, the other a quick snap off his left on the ground with Hawk Shoenmachers failing to close the goal side gap. It dribbles through and it’s a reverse moment of elation having been here many times in his Hawk time. Swans win and suddenly the Hawk position of market dominance looks shaky with Port ahead of us after the bye.
Reversing that elation one more time as the sadness of losing Buddy turns to anger post game, I reminisce over my favourite goals from him as a form of resolution therapy favoured by my current counsellour. Many of these feature Bruce at the mike in the Gentleman’s club.
#1 In 2007 Buddy arrives with 2 sensational 50+ metre goals in the last quarter, the second to give the Hawks the lead with 12 seconds to go against Adelaide in an elimination final – the Hawks first finals appearance for 6 years.
“…..Delicious isnt it Dennisssss….!”
#2 2 more against Essendon as Buddy after burners on poor Essendon sap coming back from a hammy running around the members wing at the MCG bouncing before goaling from the intersection of the boundary and the 50 metre mark. He repeats the dose a few moments later from a similar position splitting the middle.
#3 The third quarter of the the 2012 Grand Final and the Hawks are spent, hammered into submission after a Swan whirlwind second quarter. Enter the Budmeister. First he marks 60 out on the left hand side of the fifty, he plays on laconically, steadies, aim and dispatches a long long goal. Later, with a deft sidestep of hapless outmarked opponent Reid, he swings inside to this left boot and releases off 2 baby steps a monster drop back from outside the 50. The goal umpire follows intently the traverse like he’s turned to stone. 2 more in the 2012 losing Grand Final in the third quarter
“Gee Dennis, that’s special on the biggest stage of all. My oh my – gorgeous”
#4 On a rampage against North Melbourne kicking 13 goals at Launceston in 2012. The last is kicked on the siren as he presents ahead of opponent Scott Thompson for a mark off a rush inside 50 floater that bounces short. He traps in with his shins, picks it up, swings onto his left and sends it toward 6 points. The siren sounding as the ball descends after piercing the big sticks.
“……he’s teasing us Dennis, clever unbelieeeeeeeeeevable goal isnt it Richo??? Gee!”
So long Buddy and thanks for all the shanks.
Sydney 15 17 107 defeated Hawthorn 13 10 88