It’s been circled on the calender for months.
The ultimate weekend. Forty-eight hours of grand finals and Group Ones.
If you haven’t warned the family, do so now. Strap yourself in. But be warned. This weekend isn’t for the faint-hearted.
I know what you’re thinking. What about handing out some tips from years of grand final weekend abuse?
Consider it done. Here’s my survival guide. Feel free to share with your mates. Just don’t blame me if it lands you in strife.
Saturday Oct 1st.
Morning: Ask loved ones to provide a hearty breakfast. You can enjoy it over the papers. The family is required to provide peace and quiet at this time.
10.30am. Get the scratchings. Double check multi-bets. This can be done with coffee or tea. No alcohol just yet. Unless you’re at the track. If so, you should be on your third by now.
11.30am. Consider yard chores. Don’t think family responsibilities can be ignored this weekend.
11.35am. Shout yourself a cool drink for all that hard thinking. Now assume the position in your comfy black chair.
12.10pm. Randwick on Epsom Day. Race one, and it’s the fillies having their first start. Back your favourite trainer at odds and hope you can jag some play money.
12.30pm. If you haven’t already, check snack supplies and beer fridge. There’ll be no time later. In an emergency, send a friendly family member to the nearest bottle shop/convenience store.
1.25pm. Sport Change #1. We’re off to the Rugby World Cup. That time-honoured clash between the Wallabies and Russia. Bad luck is guaranteed if you miss the national anthem. You’ll be standing, of course.
2.15pm. Sport Change #2. Get your tight shorts on. It’s time for the AFL grand final. And another crack at the anthem. Not my game. But I love their passion. Watch the crowd shots before the first bounce. These fans live and breathe their sport. A bit like Queenslanders.
Now, a word of warning. You need to display some remote control expertise here. Don’t get caught up in the excitement at the MCG. The Group Ones are about to start at headquarters.
3.20pm. Back to the races. After the three-year old stayers strut their stuff, it’s Epsom time. That famous Randwick mile. The highlight of my day.
Remember the play money you snared earlier? Get it on Sincero here. When he wins, stand again, and cheer his knockabout jockey Chris O’Brien. No-one is more deserving of a wrap this weekend.
Late arvo-ish. You now must swap between the remaining Group Ones, the finish of the footy, all with an eye on the Perth quaddie. This is for experienced players only.
With stacks of cash, announce to the family that as a celebration, you’ll be kick-starting the BBQ. Of course, they are responsible for salads, breads, sauces, potatoes and their own drinks. And the washing up. Won’t they be grateful.
Now, off to bed. We have a big day tomorrow.
Sunday Oct 2nd
Morning. Check last night’s bets, including the Perth quaddie. Inspect Sunday paper to ensure there wasn’t a late protest that may provide a surprise dividend.
9.00am. Suggest romantic interlude with loving and supportive partner. Be prepared for constructive criticism.
9.00am and 20 seconds. Return to papers. Do form for another day of racing.
9.30am. (Qld time from here on) Race One at Flemington. Yes, it’s Daylight bloody Saving in the southern states. You have no idea who to back, but it’s always great to have them running so early.
10.40. Race Three .. The Bart Cummings. You must watch this race in honour of the great man.
For the next hour or two, a nap in your comfy chair is acceptable. It goes without saying that no-one is permitted to change the channel.
1.00pm. Your first taste of NRL grand final day. The North Queensland Cowboys are in the Toyota Cup decider. Cheer them loudly and proudly. But not for long. Because….
1.05pm. We’re back to Flemington. Race Seven .. the Group One Turnbull Stakes. Some Cup hopefuls in action here. The very smart December Draw will be saluting.
From here on, times become flexible. You may need to increase your fluid intake. Rugby league lovers know what I mean. There’s nothing like grand final afternoon.
Mates and neighbours will join in. Strangers too. The family will have no problems with you opening your arms, and your esky, to supporters of the great event.
Now, you’re on your own. Enjoy the game, and in an ad break, reflect on how much you’ve achieved in the past twenty-four hours.
One more thing. If you get to do all of the above, can you let me know how it goes? Sounds like a fantastic weekend.