History happens in the present. That’s never been more apparent for me then when I took my seat at Ikon Park on a Friday night earlier this year to watch the first AFLW game.
Over the course of the following eight weeks, I devoted much of my waking hours – and some of my sleeping hours, too – to the inaugural women’s Aussie rules competition.
I wasn’t the only one.
Over at The Footy Alamanc, many a scribe picked up their pen across the season and told of their stories.
They wrote of travelling great distances, of returning to suburban grounds still saturated with memory and history.
They wrote of the beauty of what they witnessed, they wrote of their joy, their frustration, their excitement. They put down in words what many of us had felt across the season.
The Almanac has published a season review of the AFLM competition since 2007, picking the best of the best from their online archives for the year and putting them together in what can only be described as artefacts of social history.
Books of stories not often told; personal perspectives that delve beneath stats and strategy.
That they would produce a similar tome for the inaugural AFLW season was always a given. Under the committed and careful watch of Yvette Wroby, Stephanie Connell and John Harms, they’ve done just that.
Launched last month in Melbourne, the inaugural Women’s Footy Almanac transports us back to those heady weeks in February and March when women’s footy finally leapt onto the national stage and changed the landscape of Aussie Rules forever.
Reading the Almanac over the past few weeks, I’ve felt right back there.
Back amongst the crowd at Whitten Oval on that first Saturday night.
Back in front of the TV for the first draw between the Giants and Freo and that thrilling first encounter between the Crows and the Lions at Norwood Oval.
And, of course, back at the Gold Coast for that remarkable grand final.
But more than just the games, the Almanac features forewords from the likes of ‘fair dinkum legend of women’s footy’ Leesa Catto, from Bobby Macumber, the VWFL’s first full-time operations manager, from Ann Myers, who was sure she didn’t like footy until she saw women’s footy, and from 12-year-old Bonnie Norman, who just might be a future AFLW star.
We had the chance to turn the pages over, and we would write what we wanted to write.
So said Adelaide Crows premiership coach Bec Goddard on the stage at Metricon Stadium after the epic conclusion to the inaugural AFLW season.
Goddard could have been talking about the Women’s Footy Almanac.
An artefact of social history, yes. A way to find your way back to those weeks that doesn’t require time travel, absolutely. A book that articulates why the AFLW caught so much of our attention and all our hearts, this too.
The inaugural Women’s Footy Almanac is all that and more.
The 2017 Women’s Footy Almanac is available online and in major retail stores. Pick up your copy to relive the historic inaugural AFLW season and take in the experiences of those who experienced the remarkable season first hand.