On July 21, 2017 Australian football lost a passionate supporter and advocate.
What's more, the High Park Demons and AFL Ontario lost one of its most
passionate and dedicated alumni.
Malcolm was a founding member of the Mississauga Mustangs and of the Ontario
playing footy with witches' hats for goal posts at Centennial Park before helping
raise the goal posts at Humber North. Part of the Mustang's first premiership over the
Toronto Panthers and a committed player, spectator and umpire, Malcolm had stayed
in touch with the true mates he met through footy in Canada, even after to returning to
live in Australia.
Leaving behind his wife, Barbara, and his two children, Matthew and Melissa, his
family has asked for the Malcolm Foletti Cup to be played annually between the
Demons and Eagles near July 21 in his honour.
June 9th was the first of what we plan to be an annual tradition between our two
oldest AFL Ontario teams and we were honored to have Barbara here to present the cup
to the Toronto Eagles. We would also like to thank Sherelle Kelly-Witt, another long (longest?)
serving and highly valued member of our league for attending and singing the anthems prior to
our game. Thanks are also directed at Rob Colburn for his photography capturing the game.
Below we present the words of his son Matthew, and the Demons look forwards to competing for
the cup again next year.
Dear CAFA, AFL Ontario, High Park Demons and the Toronto Eagles,
Our family is forever thankful for the creation of the Malcolm Foletti Cup as a lasting memory of our Dad and loving Husband to our Mother.
There wasn't a lot of Aussie Rules growing up in Canada with my only exposure being the odd game on TV but that soon changed after I accompanied dad to Centennial Park in 1989 for the first game of the league. I knew very little about the game and nothing about my dad's and grandfather's history with the game, but his love became evident during that first time out on the pitch as his smile stayed on his face throughout the game, and well after.
Having moved to Canada and started a family in this foreign land, he made a lot of personal sacrifices for his family, leaving him with very little free time. He encouraged us to try new sports and supported us in all of them, regardless of his knowledge or interest in it, and made sure we always made it to training and our games, regardless of his schedule.
The first year of the league, my dad was finally able to have his time. With the roles reversed and Malcolm being the player, I accompanied him to training & games, and saw him having fun. He was finally able to have his time on the field playing or mentoring the new players, drinking with his team-mates after training & games, or going out to dinners and BBQs with team-mates.
Winning the grand final in the first year, he celebrated like I'd never seen him celebrate before. After celebrating into the early evening, we came back to get him and were greeted by him and his team-mates arm in arm, dancing and singing on top of the bar still wearing their premiership medals with pride.
His love and passion of the game allowed him to participate in the league for almost 20 years as President of the Mustangs, Director of CAFA and, once he'd decided to pull stumps on his playing career, he umpired for the duration of his time in Canada.
I am truly grateful for the league as it allowed me to develop a common interest with my dad. In my first full season he put the boots on one final time so we could play together as father and son. Having your dad umpire almost all of your games ensures that there's never a shortage of feedback, but he was able to help me play at my best for my team and myself.
After moving back to Australia, dad's love of footy only became more pronounced as he watched every AFL game over the weekend. The only sport I ever saw him take more of an interest in was lingerie football.
In 2010, there was a magical day at the Gabba, just the two of us watching his beloved Carlton Blues playing my Brisbane Lions. We sat with the Carlton supporters, drinking beers, sledging the players and smiling throughout the entire match.
Carlton lost that day, but my dad didn't care. We saw two teams play with love and passion. The players gave it their all and the crowd loved it.
Sometimes the love of the game is more important than the result
Last Modified on 22/08/2018 14:13