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The Year of the Asterisk*

By Alasdair McClintock on July 7, 2020 in Sport

Traditional Grand Final preparations in Dave Brown’s place. Photo: Victor Radley

2020 has obviously been a tough year for everyone. With sport now more or less back on, at least there is an escape for those of us who love watching people make the best of their athletic abilities for our own mindless entertainment. With the resumption of our favourite pastime, however, our other favourite pastime, unwarranted sledging of opposition fans, has found renewed vigour.
The pièce de résistance this season is coming mostly from fans of teams who have no hope of winning – that the 2020 Premiership should be forever “asterisked” and taken as an outlier in history. As a long-suffering fan of a side that doesn’t win too often and might actually have a chance this year, I find this horribly unsettling, because if my side does win it, this sledge will not miraculously disappear, it will continue to resurface any time I publicly bask in the irrational joy of a team, that I have no direct relationship with, winning a long overdue premiership.
These people need to be stopped. It is a dangerous notion and we need to silence them before their offensive views catch on further, as more and more fans begin to realise their own teams have no hope of lifting a trophy this year. It’s no exaggeration to say that all, bar the eventual Premiers, will be chanting “Asterisk!” from the streets with a religious fervour if something is not done now.
Respective 2020 premierships need a marketing campaign, positioning them as the ultimate triumph against adversity. It’s not easy to watch an empire crumble and the world get overrun by a murderous virus, and still concentrate on your footy. Heck, I’m struggling to even focus on this article! As you are too, no doubt.
Sure, leagues have been completely restructured, entire teams separated from their loved ones and screaming fans have been replaced by cardboard cut-outs of weird little dogs and infamous British serial killers (this actually happened, is there no vetting process at NRL Marketing?). I get that this is by no means a normal set of affairs, but considering the NRL and AFL are continually changing the rules and season structure anyway, is it really that different to any other year? Should we put an asterisk next to every NRL Premier that gets to play the Gold Coast Titans twice during the regular season? Probably, actually, but that’s the exception that proves the rule.
So, you know what you can do with your asterisk? You can delete it, that’s what you can do. Put it in your pocket and walk away. No one wants it here, stinking up the place. This year has been hard enough, we don’t need you undermining what little joy we might experience with a snarky little typographical symbol.
*Obviously, if my team doesn’t win, I take all of this back.