This past Sunday, we had to wipe away a tear with our giant, yellow, foam hand as we bid au revoir to Subi Oval. For 25 years, West Coast Eagles’ spectators have slept soundly at night knowing that a) the Dockers have yet to win a premiership and b) the iconic Messages On Hold hand will be waving behind the goal posts every game.
Trevor Watson, a hand-waiver of MOH’s for 17 years, shares some behind the posts memories from his time at Subi.
Ever wondered how, no matter where the angle of the camera was pointed, or where the umpire stood, you could ALWAYS see the MOH hands? That’s because while the players were warming up, we’d spend ages checking how tall the goal umpires were, where they were standing, and where the cameras were placed in the stand. You’d be surprised what a big difference it made!
FYI: A big pet peeve of mine were the umpires who’d stand all over the place making me have to constantly shuffle trying to line up with the camera!
Sabotaging Security Guards
Every so often, a security guard (or even the spare-ball kids) would sit directly between the camera and me, and stand up every time a goal was scored! I was not happy with this arrangement! I asked, begged and pleaded, and sometimes even resorted to bribing them to move. This got—as you can imagine—mixed results.
Friend Goals Behind The Goals
While we weren’t always initially the best of friends with the rows behind us (something about a giant, yellow viewing obstacle may have contributed to that), soon we became fast friends. After some friendly chat and game analysis (somehow we all knew exactly what the Eagles were doing right/wrong), we became good friends. Maybe the spare ticket we once gave to their grandkid had something to do with it as well! Anyway, since then we’ve actually watched finals together at our house with some people from the row behind us!
The Great Flood
While some Eagles’ fans don’t love getting their wings a bit wet, nothing could ruffle my feathers. In 2003, the Eagles played North Melbourne and it rained so hard the goal umpire was ankle deep in water. It didn’t take too long before I found that I was the only person in the entirety of Block 116 that hadn’t run for cover! I sure hoped TV viewers could see the MOH hand through the downpour. The 20-minute walk back to the car was not fun that afternoon.
I’ve enjoyed almost every game of the approximately 190 home games I’ve waved signs at. Even when I got sick, and spent the entire game with my head on the fence, I had my wife shout to me every time I needed to lift the sign. Luckily, I married an Eagles-nut like me!
Thanks Kym and Messages On Hold for the last 17 years at Subi. It’s been fun!