When she moved to Melbourne from Brazil, Bianca had no idea what going along to an AFL game would bring. Not only was she converted into a passionate fan, but Bianca connected with Julie, a Melbourne Demons fan, to host her at their games, share the infectious energy and more importantly become a caring friend and support system. Here’s their story:
Julie, as a proud fan of the Demons, what’s your story?
My mum was given the choice of who to barrack for as a child, and since she lived in Melbourne, she thought that’s who she should naturally pick. She then married into a family of Melbourne supporters, making it all the more reason for me to choose my allegiance as well. Be it going to the MCG with my grandparents in the early years or heading to Waverley with mum or my husband (a lifetime Carlton supporter), football has always been a family affair. I can still recollect my great grandfather’s 84th birthday cake which was decorated in red and blue with a big Demon on the top. My children have all grown up as avid supporters of AFL, but I regret to inform you that only one of my daughters turned out to be a Demons supporter! Of course, that doesn’t stop us as a family from catching a game together.
Let’s go back to your first ever live game of the Melbourne Demons. What was your first impression of the club and their fans?
Bianca, tell us what made you go back and watch more AFL games?
I decided to go back and watch more games because I found the game to be very interesting. All the fans and people are so animated and the spirit of friendship also motivated me to keep going back for more.
Julie, if you were to describe the Demons to someone new, what are three things you would say about the club? Do you also have any favourite team gear?
The Demons are an institution of Melbourne, one of the founding clubs with a rich history and has enjoyed many successes.
I don’t have any favourite gear but I always proudly wear my Demons scarf, even when I join my husband at a Carlton game. I have often been told at the gate jokingly that I am at the wrong game!
Bianca: I really feel blessed to have met Julie and her mother. Words are not enough to thank someone who has given me so much care, attention and support, without which I would not have made it.
How important is it for you to meet locals while travelling?
Julie: By meeting locals while traveling, they can not only give you great advice about your destination but can give you an insight into the culture and the real stories about your destination.
Bianca: Meeting locals is important for me because I feel a lot more comfortable, especially when I’m catching a game at a venue!
Julie, do you have any favourite memory of attending a sport event while traveling?
We watched college basketball in Albuquerque, New Mexico when we were staying with friends in the USA. There was only one road that night and everyone was heading to the Snake Pit to watch the Lobos. The atmosphere was electric both outside and inside the stadium- the noise, music, cheerleaders, bands and the sea of people all wearing their red Lobos supporter gear! We had a great night getting caught up in the emotion of the game, cheering hard for the young Aussie playing and soaking it all in.
Julie, as a host and a Demons fan, what would you say to other fans of the club about the joy of hosting?
It’s always nice meeting people who have never experienced AFL, seeing them enjoy the game and creating memories and stories to be told. Anyone can be a host! It’s both rewarding and fun. Give it a go and proudly showcase a team we love and a game that is at the heart of Melbourne’s culture; you never really know the lasting friendships you can eventually make.
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