Well, it is when you're not playing Finals, and for Swans fans, it's been a little while. Since 2002, in fact, which in football years is close to eternity.
Let's face it: we've been spoiled by success. Even our bad years of late have been pretty good. Last year, for example. We battled and slogged and could barely play consistent football week-to-week, and we somehow ended up making a semi-final. Most clubs aren't as lucky.
When you're up, you look at your playing list and wonder how anyone could imagine beating you. The Swans of 2005 to 2008 made us feel like this. We weren't always the best, but we were phenomenally competitive, and rarely beaten comprehensively. A look at our list at the end of 2009 gives you a different feeling: uncertainty, trepidation. The excitement of Jesse White can't make up for the absence of Micky O. The promise of Nick Smith and Daniel Hannebery is still that: promise. The certainty that this list will bring us future premierships has to now butt heads with the reality that for a year or two at least, we're tinkering with the new blueprint.
But really, it's all about finals. The whole game boils down to four weeks worth of games. All the money you spend on beer and pies. All the time wasted on BigFooty trying to turn wishes into reality. All the untold and untellable daydreaming. One quarter of even a lowly elimination final trumps six or seven high-quality home and away matches. Everything sharpens, and grows in consequence and intensity. It shames the weekly certainty of viewership that for almost half a year dominates and dictates the lives of so very many Australians.
We took our run of success for granted just a little, and now The Age liftout has nothing for us, beyond small off-season trades and draft pickups. It could be a while until we're back in a crucial top four spot - I don't think so, or don't want it to be so, but a seemingly short exile from glory can last a surprisingly long time. Ask Richmond, or their long-suffering supporters.
For what it's worth, Susan and David throw their growing weight behind the Doggies and the Saints, losers and battlers both. Anyone but Collingwood. No, really: anyone but Collingwood. The sight of Alan Didak and Dale Thomas on the podium come the last week of September would be too much for us, or any vaguely sentient creature, to take.