The Doggies Almanac

Since the Western Bulldogs' unexpected Premiership victory, there has been a veritable tide of memorabilia pouring out of the Whitten Oval and AFL shops: DVD box sets, signed posters, blockmounted jumpers, replica cups, stubby holders, you name it. We've been relatively restrained at our house -- two books and one box set, and a framed photo collage which was a Christmas present and therefore not our fault!

I wasn't aware of this book until I unwrapped it on Christmas morning. Put together by John Harms and Mandy Johnson, it's a product of the on-line site, the Footy Almanac, which collates and publishes fan accounts of each game of the season. This book is a collection of pieces about the Bulldogs' year, round by round, culminating in lots of accounts of the extraordinary journey through the finals. There are lots of stories here, some funny, some poignant, from fans aged 80 and fans aged 11. It was so much fun to live through the year all over again, though there were some very dark moments -- Mitch Wallis's screams of agony, Bob Murphy's knee -- but the happy ending makes it all worth while.

The Bulldogs' story this year reminded everyone what can be so good about football -- the romance, the heartbreak, the history, and the possibility of overwhelming joy, and I'm so grateful to have experienced it all.

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