The final siren has sounded for the 2018 AFL Premiership season. While the top teams are moving on to the finals in September, supporters of the league's other ten teams are left wondering what to do with their newly freed weekends. Here are a few ways you can reclaim your weekends.
It's hard enough supporting a sports team that doesn't win all that often. Down at the bottom of the AFL ladder can be a sad place when you've emotionally invested in the success of a team. As a Brisbane Lions supporter, I've long since accepted that I won't get to see my team play during September.
If you back a team that didn't make the top eight, here are a few hobbies you can pick up now that the season is over.
Play Board Games
Board games are a great way to hang out with your mates or to find new friends. The hobby has exploded over the last decade with thousands of games being released every year that are far removed from the battered old copies of Scrabble sitting in your linen closet.
Regular board game nights are a social way to keep your brain engaged and can be as kid-friendly as you please, with groups available to suit all age ranges.
There are currently over 100,000 board games listed on Board Game Geek, the tabletop world's equivalent of IMDB. That's a lot to choose from. Wandering into your local department store is going to give your some truly disappointing choices and browsing your friendly local game store can be overwhelming. Here are some great board games that anyone from veteran to rookie can enjoy.
Learn To Dance
Dancing With The Stars is making a comeback next year. You can get ahead of the craze and learn to dance now or you can learn just because it's fun.
Learn in your living room with Youtube tutorials or take dance classes with your partner. It doesn't matter how you do it, there's plenty of ways to cure yourself of having two left feet.
Go On Bushwalks
The end of the footy season is also the end of winter so take advantage and explore your surrounding bushland while the weather is amazing.
There are all sorts of bushwalking options available from short hour-long beginner trails to week long hikes. Get a decent pair of boots on and a take a hike.
Who doesn't enjoy a fresh-baked loaf of bread or a delicious cake? Nobody, that's who.
Spending time in the kitchen is a great way to bond with your children and teach them valuable skills. Baking is also an easy to learn skill that rewards you with fresh baked goods as you go. The better you get, the better the quality of your rewards.
Bandwagon Another Team
There's a code among sports fans: You pick your team and you barrack exclusively for them. You don't start cheering for another team just because yours is terrible. Loyalty is valued, albeit not necessarily rewarded.
Exceptions can be made for finals.
When your team isn't taking part in the competition it's simply impossible to barrack for them. If you're still desperate for a footy fix then the only real option is to hitch your bandwagon to another team and celebrate their successes. I have a begrudging respect for the Sydney Swans and will following their finals campaign this year. Who knows, maybe they can make a miracle run from sixth spot.