by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Prior to their recent dominance, the Geelong Cats had not won a Premiership since 1963, the same year Beverly Hills mayor and Paramount executive John Mirisch was born. Mirisch has an affinity for blue and white because those are the colors of his college team and the Los Angeles Dodgers. 1963 was also the same year the Dodgers defeated former cross-town rival the New York Yankees in the World Series.
In 2007, the year Mirisch's son was born, a colleague in Melbourne mentioned the Cats and their history to Mirisch who began following Aussie Rules and the Cats. Watching games on line, he was hooked and became a Geelong member in 2011. One of his fondest footy memories is watching the 2011 Grand Final win in a Santa Monica bar. He has now added to that memory with a mid-July visit to Geelong and Melbourne with his son Vincent. He was a guest of Geelong Mayor Keith Fagg and had the opportunity to meet some of the Geelong players and Coach Chris Scott. He also attended a number of games, his first being the blockbuster against Hawthorn.
Mirisch says he never really got into rugby but "there was something about AFL, or footy, that I found fascinating ... it's one of the most exciting, thrilling games ever devised." Young Vincent obviously feels the same, hoping to see an Auskick program at his school and dreaming of being the first USA player to don the famous blue and white hoops of Geelong.
it is not only Mirisch's affinity with blue and white which connects Geelong and Los Angeles. Geelong star Edward "Carji" Greeves, the inaugural Brownlow Medalist in 1924 (the year its namesake Charles Brownlow passed away) and 1925 Premiership player (the Cats' first), was invited to come to the USA by the University of Southern California. At the time, the Trojans football team had yet to win a college championship. Greeves worked with punters and field goal specialists to improve their kicking skills. The following year, the Trojans won the first of many national titles.
Just as an aside, Mirisch's family production company, established in 1957, can count among its movie credits the classics "The Great Escape", "The Magnificent Seven", "Fiddler On The Roof", "Some Like It Hot" and "West Side Story".
Article last changed on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 7:42 PM EDT