Today, for the first time since Sports Delivered closed at the end of 2010, I met up with Name A Game boss Christian Ganaban in order to list for him the games I had ordered which needed mastering from VHS. Ganaban had been to the master library only once since returning after handing over the offices to a woman called Even during the first two weeks of 2011, but for this trip he was getting the master tapes for twenty games from 2002 - the last year during which Name A Game sold VHS tapes. The person who was buying these 2002 games was buying them to do a university examination in which he was examining the statistics of many players. Because of the greater variety of ground conditions before Docklands and global warming, I felt that it would be better to look at games from 1997 or better still 1996 to see the details this person wanted, but when I asked why this student was not buying games from 1996 or 1997 I was told the student was required to buy and study games broadcast by Channel Nine, which date only from 2002 or later.
Because I was very eager to help with time until 16:00, and in spite of the horribly hot and humid weather, I decided to sort out a large number of unshelved Name A Game DVDs. In the process I found that several of the games I was looking for had either long been mastered (Round 11, 1997, Port Adelaide v Sydney) or recently mastered (Round 13, 1995, Sydney v Essendon and Round 19, 1996, Melbourne v Carlton).
At first, I sorted earlier games that had recently been mastered (and ordered during 2010), with my first step being to sort out the pre-2000 games from those of 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 (which in conversation are called “oh-oh”, “oh-wuhn”, “oh-too” and “oh-three”). Whilst I was doing this, I noticed some games that did not look as though they could be from 2000, when the St. Kilda softies owing to their virtual amateurism won only two games out of twenty-two despite many talented players. Knowing from experience that 2000 was the most popular year on Name A Game except for 2010, I wondered if Christian had suffered from his urge to write “00” on every DVD case even when the game was not from 2000! When I looked inside the case to see what the game really was, I found that actually Ganaban had labelled a 2008 game “00”!
This process repeated twice. Even as I gradually got through a large number of games, it amazed me that Ganaban was suffering from the same problem that affected Germans during the infamous 1923 hyperinflation, at the peak of which prices doubled every two days. Because of the popularity of games from 2000 amongst Essendon fans and probably many others who are amazed by the Bombers’ 20 game unbeaten streak (in fact 27 consecutive home-and-away wins), Ganaban is consistently having to copy and master these games, with the result that there are seventy percent more games on the shelf from 2000 than from 1998 (a very weak year with all the popular Victorian teams doing badly) and no doubt a faster turnover time. The result is that, perhaps without checking inside the DVD case (which I am very reluctant to do because I do not think he would want it), Ganaban has written “00” on games that were actually from 2008 (a reasonably popular year being recent and with a Victorian team winning the flag). Although during the rest of my session (for my work I obtained the Round 9, 1993 Fitzroy v Collingwood game) I focused on sorting the games by year and earning the reward for terribly hard work in horrible weather, I found it so strange that I could not forget about it even when I had sorted all the games from before 2000 and was at work sorting 2000 to 2003 games!