Once or twice a year there comes a day when Murray can�t win.
Murray, you see, is a mad Parramatta fan. Murray is married to Dianne. She�s not a mad Parramatta fan.
She supports another team.
Not just any team, though. She supports them. Dianne is a Manly Warringah tragic.
You might ask how can a mad Parramatta fan and a Manly tragic even consider that they could possibly spend the rest of their lives together?
Your writer is not the person to ask. We vehemently insisted to our good friend Murray that such a relationship could never work. Sure, the rivalry might make for some good chemistry in the beginning � loving banter back and forth each week as each team�s fortunes rise and fall. Sure, the opposing loyalties would even make for bountiful comedy material during the wedding day speeches. But Murray, we counselled, think about the children! Can you live with even the remotest possibility that your own flesh and blood could grow up supporting them? Because when it comes to influencing the kiddies, remember it�s mum who�s in the box seat.
Murray babbled on about love and soul mates and how football isn�t the be all and end all. But I knew. I�m married. I know that after so long, the excitement of new love fades. Some things begin to sag. Others occasionally go limp. And then what are you left with?
As it turned out, Murray didn�t have to wait for children to come along, never mind the sagging, before he discovered the dark side of his version of marital bliss. His torment would start only a matter of months after tying the knot.
Manly and Parra at Brookvale. A see-sawing affair that saw Manly seemingly grab a late try only to have it called back for a forward pass before Parramatta sealed victory with a last minute four pointer.
Dianne didn�t take the loss well. I still maintain she deserved the flak that Murray dished out. After all, when she thought Albert Torrens had crossed for the match winner she had certainly served it up. Surely then, Murray, when vindicated with eventual victory, was entitled to return serve.
But Dianne didn�t see it that way. She was not happy. Indeed she was very unhappy. So that night she shut up shop. Told Murray she had a headache, rolled over and told her new husband that if he was going to get his jollies tonight, he might want to go and put on the video and watch the replay of that touch judge ripping off the Sea Eagles once again.
Now Murray wasn�t happy. He was still in that �honeymoon period�, remember. He was buoyant and he wanted to go shopping. Mind you, he had to admit, watching the match replay was a pretty reasonable consolation.
But things would get worse for Murray. The next game between the two clubs was at Parramatta Stadium and this would be no see-sawing battle. The Eels broke a long losing streak, flogging Manly 52 to 12.
To say Dianne was unhappy after enduring 80 minutes of humiliation, would be something of an understatement. That night, she shut up shop again. For a week.
Now, the Eels are due to meet Manly again in two weeks and Murray is worried about the shop possibly going into liquidation if the Eels repeat the last clash flogging.
So Murray thought he might be able to head off his problem if he made a bet. How about if Parra wins, the shop stays open and I get my pick of the store, Murray suggested.
�Would you really want to do it, if I�m miserable and just doing it for a bet?� asked Dianne, who clearly has not yet learned the subtleties, or lack there of, of the male libido. Fortunately for both of them Murray has learned during his short marriage the concept of �not making things worse� and promptly abandoned the whole idea.
Murray thinks he can�t win. If his team loses, he�s miserable. If his team wins, he faces who knows how long going without. �Not so,� I told him. �There�s a definite upside. When the mighty Eels flog those good-for-nothing, mangy Sea Pigeons, you can at least rest comfortably in the knowledge that you won�t have to worry for quite a while about the possibility of raising a house full of Manly supporters�.
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