I was woken by my step son who told us to turn on the news, it was like I had been hit by a brick. Coach Phil Walsh had died over night under tragic circumstances. I could not breathe, I just couldn’t say anything. Not even sure what Hubby Phil and I said to each other in those first few hours. I wanted, NO I needed to do something…so a grabbed Phil’s Crows scarf and tied it to a post on our house, #scarfsoutforwashly was started for us. (I just put ours out, for now.)
Friday night at the end of the Hawthorne and Collingwood game, Coach Clarkson gathered the boys from both teams and gave some instructions, they then walked to the center of the MCG forming a ring, alternating players (pies, hawks,pies) and the ground went silent. From there, game after game over the weekend, a ring of remembrance was formed in Coach Walsh’s memory. The final ring needs, should what ever word is right, to take place at Showdown.
4 am Saturday morning, we drove to West Lakes, we had to see what had started and there was a small but moving tribute to a man who had touched so many. We returned later in the day and the tribute had grown in size. It was not just crows fans who came but Port Adelaide, Collingwood, Essendon, Brisbane, it did not matter what colors you wear , you were affected and needed a place to go.
Phil and I left for a bit and returned when we knew other friends were there and we could not wait to hold each other, cry together. Just to have someone to hold on to who I KNEW understood exactly by what was taking place. We felt a little closer, united by an event that we just had no clue how to make sense of. Saturday night was just watching football, trying to have a meal and just grieving.
Sleep has not been restful, its been exhaustion sleep. Sunday morning brought that renewed dread of having to face life. As we pulled on our Crows colors again, I looked at my Phil and said ” We are pulling on our colors to go to a memorial, and it is so WRONG. We arrived at St.Peters Cathedral to be on duty for welcoming (neither of us had our heart in the task of the day) Phil pointed out to the altar and where the Dean gives the sermon from was a Port Scarf on one side and a Crows scarf on the other.
Walking to the Oval, we saw all different Guernsey’s from all the teams. 20,000 plus people had made their way to the oval. At 2:50 pm the Oval announcer ask that we stand out of respect for a minute’s silence. The horn blew and a round of applause was echoed throughout the oval.
We met friends at the point post on the city end, we held each other, we cried and formed our ring of honor, trying to make sense of it all. As we continued to walk around and hug those we knew, sharing a moment together. At 3:26 pm the claps started again, the ground stopping long enough to take part.
We saw lots of families taking pics of their kids, family photos and we even took a few of our own.
I do not think that we will ever make any sense of the events of the fateful day, there is that scene in Steel Magnolias at the cemetery when Anell tries to explain how she makes sense to get through what has just happened. ” Coach Walsh will always be handsome, he will always have that beautiful smile, he will always be coaching the boys, he will be a guardian angel to all of us but to the boys especially”
To my Crows family, those of you I have never met and those I know, we have a long road ahead of us, still more tears to shed more though times but you are not alone. In one of the videos I wrote the following which I will leave you with.
“One day soon We will Rise from the ashes, to soar as ONE…WE will finish what you started.