ws wanderers

Stark Clarity

Winter Soldier 8 hour speed paint when I should have been preparing for a law exam in 7 hours. Sebastian Stan your doe eyes are terrible for my gpa.

Post WS where Bucky is wandering around like a kicked puppy and everyone just wants to smother him with hugs and blankets. And because of all the Post-WS fics I’ve read before the movie I expected CW Bucky to be this traumatised, shaky amnesiac kitten, instead he’s a snarky Bambi with the punch of a gorilla.

The day my heart turned to the west...

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Ok, confession time… as we here in Sydney get ready to celebrate the 2nd Sydney derby between the sky blue boys of the city in Sydney FC & the red & black bloc of the WS Wanderers, I have to say that while I am proudly supporting the boys from the west tonight… my heart hasn’t always been with the part of Sydney I now proudly call home.

Don’t get me wrong- I am a Westie though and through, I was born in the South-West of Sydney, grew up in the North-West and now spend a lot of time in the West, so that would geographically mean I’ve always been in the west, but as I said, this isn’t about geography, this is about the heart and as they say, home is where the heart is.

When I was younger it didn’t really bother me being from the west, everyone was from Sydney and I was a Sydneysider first and foremost. My parents as well have always worked hard to instill in their children the ways of the west, that you work hard, you try to support those around you and you are about the community first.

As I went through high school however, this changed… I was always willing to support the boys from the west in sporting teams- I was going for the West Sydney Razorbacks and spent large amounts of time watching NSL in Parramatta Stadium, but when people asked me where I came from, I would always say I was from the North West of Sydney… emphasis on the NORTH!

I didn’t like the idea of having to be associated with an area which was constantly in the news for gun shootings, robberies and poverty… I didn’t like the idea of people thinking of me from there when I went to a school where while it wasn't elitist or rich, we all came from pretty well off families and didn’t really care too much about the issues of the community, it was all about the latest clothes, gadgets or music/movies.

As I went further into high school I remember I was in a bubble, spending time in the local shopping centre or if not there, heading north to the areas of Sydney where there are more white picket fences than skate parks… and I was fine with that.

Society didn’t make this any easier. I remember one day going on a train to the Eastern Suburbs and talking to these girls (who were from the East) who were all fine until I told them what suburb I came from, at which point they decided not to talk to me or my mate for the rest of the journey. This fobbing off didn’t make me feel hatrid to the East, rather, it made me more determined to prove that I was as cool as they were- to be a part of their gang.

I didn’t appreciate it when people said I came from the western suburbs or when people asked me if I lived near Blacktown, I preferred to say I lived near Hornsby. 

This little bubble of mine was about to be popped severely though when I was accepted to University in… oh no… Western Sydney, and even more than that, the further West aka. Penrith… seriously I never ventured out there and now I was going to have to go there everyday!

I remember however though that even though I wasn’t overly happy to be there (besides the fact my mates were there too), the more time I spent there, the more I learnt that the people of the west were really amazing people. That’s not to say there aren’t amazing people from the east, south or north (I’ve met many of those) but it was a real eye-opener to see that the people who were from the West weren’t just uncouth, nasty and feral… they were just like me and were actually really accepting of who I was, something I hadn’t experienced in my life for a long time.

In the years that followed, I moved churches from my home area to an area near Blacktown, and that was another eye opener, as I helped this new parish grow and over the years I have been so lucky to be with people who have such a love of community, who are so supportive of the work that I do and who really value each other for who they are, not for what they own/don’t own.

This love and acceptance is what I think is at the heart of Western Sydney, and what makes me love it so much. Today, I spend more time in the West than any other part of the city, with most of my friends from there and my favourite times being a trip to Penrith, a brunch in Blacktown or a movie in Parramatta. This is especially so having been away for a year from the area, where now I look at it from an outsiders point of view, seeing how the people of this area are so friendly for one another and those in their community and how it’s as big a thing to have a barbecue on a Sunday in the park as it is to hold a party in a fancy house.

And so we get to the derby and why did I, a Sydney FC supporter for nearly 5 years decide to become a WS Wanderers fan overnight and not without a care or concern.

Well firstly, I played football in this region as a kid and it’s always been the dream to have our own team in the major league- now that there is one, there’s no reason not to support it and thank those who made the dream a reality.

More importantly though, as much as I respect those from the other areas of Sydney, I think this club is so important as it represents the true essence of what the West is about.

Just take a look at the fact the club was put together in a matter of months, a dream idea that when the opportunity came, like all things in Western Sydney, was grabbed and worked on so hard that it came up as quickly as a piece of infrastructure in China. 

Those who belong to the club don’t just want to do what is best for the players, but what is best for the community they belong to. They wear the fact they come from Western Sydney like a badge of pride. No offense to the rest of Sydney, but you will never understand this… you need to come from here to get it, we are proud to be from Western Sydney first and foremost and it is what we do that matters, not what everyone else does. 

WE ARE NOT here to show everyone we are better, or to be the best, if we get there along the way then it’s a bonus. First and foremost, the people of Western Sydney are here to work hard and make a difference for those in their community now and in the future- to build a legacy that generations after us can be proud of and can achieve a better future from.

The fact that there are so many locals in the team is inspiring as it gives our kids who play football on the parks on Saturday mornings the hope that they can one day be like their heroes, playing in front of their families and community. The fact that the boys are out there in the local community (not just at football functions) gives those who might not support sports the chance to see that sportsmen aren’t just about partying and making names for themselves in the headlines.

I love everything that the Western Sydney Wanderers embody as a team, from the hard work of Poppa and the boys on the field to the community initiatives off it and most importantly I love the fact that this team is Western Sydney from head to toe.

May we who are the community of Western Sydney embrace everything that this club represents and more importantly may it inspire us to continue to live by those values that everyone knows us so well for- being the fighting underdogs, hard workers and ensuring we build a legacy of hope for the future.

Thank you Western Sydney for making me who I am today, I’m glad my heart lies here and I know that if I had a choice to re-write history, I wouldn’t have it any other way.