Footy Memory versus Normal Memory

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Just recently, I heard someone on radio recall that the defeat of Essendon by Carlton in the 1999 prelim happened on the same Saturday that the Kennett government was turfed from power. I recall both events quite clearly - especially Kennett's defeat (if I barracked for either of the two teams I suspect I'd have a clearer memory of the footy upset). There is another coincidence of this sort that I recall as well, Richmond's rare finals win against Carlton in 2001 which happened within days of the Twin Towers collapsing.

What it has reinforced is a peculiar phenomenon of memory that I've often noticed but never mentioned to anyone before, and I'm curious if others have experienced it. It's like my life following footy has run on a different time track to my experience of the outside world - of the greater history that's unfolded during my life. When I think of myself in the 1980s, of the political events, the music, the fashion etc, it seems more recent than when I think of the footy of that era, and the same goes for every period since. Looking more recently, the struggling Tigers of 2010 feel like they were decades ago, whereas when I think about myself and what I was doing in that year, it feels like it was only yesterday.

Is it the same for anyone else? Or do some people have the reverse phenomenon?
 

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Dazzler10

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#2
Just recently, I heard someone on radio recall that the defeat of Essendon by Carlton in the 1999 prelim happened on the same Saturday that the Kennett government was turfed from power. I recall both events quite clearly - especially Kennett's defeat (if I barracked for either of the two teams I suspect I'd have a clearer memory of the footy upset). There is another coincidence of this sort that I recall as well, Richmond's rare finals win against Carlton in 2001 which happened within days of the Twin Towers collapsing.

What it has reinforced is a peculiar phenomenon of memory that I've often noticed but never mentioned to anyone before, and I'm curious if others have experienced it. It's like my life following footy has run on a different time track to my experience of the outside world - of the greater history that's unfolded during my life. When I think of myself in the 1980s, of the political events, the music, the fashion etc, it seems more recent than when I think of the footy of that era, and the same goes for every period since. Looking more recently, the struggling Tigers of 2010 feel like they were decades ago, whereas when I think about myself and what I was doing in that year, it feels like it was only yesterday.

Is it the same for anyone else? Or do some people have the reverse phenomenon?
Any neuroscientists in the house?
 

Dazzler10

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#3
Just recently, I heard someone on radio recall that the defeat of Essendon by Carlton in the 1999 prelim happened on the same Saturday that the Kennett government was turfed from power. I recall both events quite clearly - especially Kennett's defeat (if I barracked for either of the two teams I suspect I'd have a clearer memory of the footy upset). There is another coincidence of this sort that I recall as well, Richmond's rare finals win against Carlton in 2001 which happened within days of the Twin Towers collapsing.

What it has reinforced is a peculiar phenomenon of memory that I've often noticed but never mentioned to anyone before, and I'm curious if others have experienced it. It's like my life following footy has run on a different time track to my experience of the outside world - of the greater history that's unfolded during my life. When I think of myself in the 1980s, of the political events, the music, the fashion etc, it seems more recent than when I think of the footy of that era, and the same goes for every period since. Looking more recently, the struggling Tigers of 2010 feel like they were decades ago, whereas when I think about myself and what I was doing in that year, it feels like it was only yesterday.

Is it the same for anyone else? Or do some people have the reverse phenomenon?
I quite often use footy events and cricket seasons (former player) as reference points as to was going on at certain times in my life and how much time has passed.
 

Rusty Brookes

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#4
I'm the opposite. I watched the 1996 merger match not long ago and it looked ancient. It still feels like yesterday to me - that's a lifetime for some people.

I can remember just about everything that happened in the last match of 2008 - from what time I got up, what I had breakfast, what time I got down to the MCG, what I was wearing, drinking etc. Footy remains constant for me while the rest of life zips on by.

It will soon be 40 years since I attended my first game - and even that doesn't feel that long ago.
 

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I find it generally easy to remember the music being played based on what type of footy era it was. Or remember what girlfriend I had a certain time that prevented me going to games. Some years are easy to remember than others. Politics no so much, although as you pointed out easy to remember 1999 prelim final day had an election on as was only time I forgot to vote as was so keen to get to the footy that day I totally forget about voting until well after 6 pm at night.
 

Rich

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#6
Not footy (also in 1999), but the failed Republic referendum result was on the same day as the rugby World Cup final where the Wallabies beat France.
 

Gavin Excell

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#7
Just recently, I heard someone on radio recall that the defeat of Essendon by Carlton in the 1999 prelim happened on the same Saturday that the Kennett government was turfed from power. I recall both events quite clearly - especially Kennett's defeat (if I barracked for either of the two teams I suspect I'd have a clearer memory of the footy upset). There is another coincidence of this sort that I recall as well, Richmond's rare finals win against Carlton in 2001 which happened within days of the Twin Towers collapsing.

What it has reinforced is a peculiar phenomenon of memory that I've often noticed but never mentioned to anyone before, and I'm curious if others have experienced it. It's like my life following footy has run on a different time track to my experience of the outside world - of the greater history that's unfolded during my life. When I think of myself in the 1980s, of the political events, the music, the fashion etc, it seems more recent than when I think of the footy of that era, and the same goes for every period since. Looking more recently, the struggling Tigers of 2010 feel like they were decades ago, whereas when I think about myself and what I was doing in that year, it feels like it was only yesterday.

Is it the same for anyone else? Or do some people have the reverse phenomenon?
Interesting

To clarify - you are saying that football events from say 10 years ago seem far more distant that world/life events of the same era?
 

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Macpotata

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#14
I have a good memory and like many on here a very good football memory. It's amazing how many of us football mad followers can recall games from decades ago like they were yesterday. That's what I love about footy and it's such a good sport as it brings many of us together for a variety of reasons including said one, and even this forum.


rejoice ab.jpg



ablett jnr.jpg
 

JB1975

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#16
For me, single events can seem long ago or relatively recent, depending on my moods, blood-alcohol content, and the normal tricks of memory. The 2010 premiership is a case in point; sometimes it seems like yesterday, but at other times I look upon players like Reid, Sidebottom and Pendles as relics of a distant age.

1999 feels like a while ago, but the Kennett defeat feels more recent than the Carlton v Essendon prelim for some reason. Maybe the former gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling while I'd rather banish any Carlton finals victory into deep oblivion.

PS: The toppling of Kennett actually took a bit longer than one weekend, from memory (i.e. the jostling of independents, by-election in Frankston East etc.).
 
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#17
My theory is based upon how much you love footy (or any other aspect of life you use as your reference point for this sort of discussion). If you're a footy obsessive, then you tend to think about and analyse the various events as they occur over any given period of time, and due to your fascination they become entrenched quite vividly in your memory.

On the contrary, events outside your primary interest are considered, acknowledged and reflected upon, but due to their relative lack of interest to you they don't retain the same vividness of detail within your memory. Such events are recalled as single, monolithic happenings that are only loosely connected to other similar matters. When your obsession is footy, you recall the results, changes in players, coaches and gameplans, etc, and because it's what you reflect on and analyse, these memories form themselves into a coherent order, and because you've spent so much time thinking about this, you have more memories to draw upon compared to what you've perceived as background noise.

This then results in the perception of relativity in time when applied to these differing tracks of memory, as the subject you have most memories of gives you more to recall from and its context, then those you weren't quite so interested in.
 

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#19
Is Proust the avatar?
That’s definitely not Proust. Too healthy-looking.

OP, one possibility I can think of to explain the distinction between your “footy memory” and “normal memory” is that the former relies on a collection of personally-experienced, unique events, whereas the latter reflects a mixture of different sources of information providing similar facts. Memory researchers typically draw a distinction between episodic and semantic memory. Episodic memory refers to a person’s memory for specific experiences, and involves recollection of the context in which the experiences took place. For instance, I have a very vivid episodic memory of slipping down an ice patch while out hiking last year and nearly dying—I’m not just aware that it happened, but I can remember things like the feel of the snow under my fingers as I dug them in to try and arrest my momentum. By contrast, semantic memory refers to knowledge of facts and information that is typically context-free. For instance, I know that Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, but I have no idea of the context in which I learnt that information. One theory is that semantic memory is created when we experience roughly the same information multiple times in different contexts: We retain the consistent part (i.e., the fact) and lose the inconsistent context.

Is it possible that your memory of football stuff is more episodic, and your memory of other stuff more semantic? I’m not aware of any specific relationship between time perception and different forms of memory, but that may just be because time perception is not my area of expertise.

Thanks for the interesting post, by the way.
 

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#21
I met my wife the night of the Port v Fremantle semi final in 2014. Richmond Club Hotel; That wasn’t where the game was played, but where I met her.
I asked my wife out for the first time after Hawthorn played Fitzroy at the Western Oval. I feel old.

Oh and I played my first ever live gig at the Richmond Club Hotel when it was an old, scuzzy punk venue.

 

Wallaby

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#22
My memory of old games results in conflating several events across different matches into one occurrence. Back in the 70s Richmond seemed to play Hawthorn at Waverley every 2nd week, and I probably went to all of them (I hate AFL.Tables - it confirms that Richmond played Hawthorn at Waverley only 5 times in the entire decade). Nevertheless, I remember bits and pieces - did Hudson kick 8 goals in the same game Royce Hart kicked a goal after the siren (while wearing long sleeves) and Kevin Sheedy got a 15-metre penalty for pointing at the ball and demanding the Hawthorn player pick it up and give it to him? Probably not - but they all meld together (I am very old).

I guess I remember in pictures or brief video snapshots, rather than facts.
 

Roysforever

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#24
Just recently, I heard someone on radio recall that the defeat of Essendon by Carlton in the 1999 prelim happened on the same Saturday that the Kennett government was turfed from power. I recall both events quite clearly - especially Kennett's defeat (if I barracked for either of the two teams I suspect I'd have a clearer memory of the footy upset). There is another coincidence of this sort that I recall as well, Richmond's rare finals win against Carlton in 2001 which happened within days of the Twin Towers collapsing.

What it has reinforced is a peculiar phenomenon of memory that I've often noticed but never mentioned to anyone before, and I'm curious if others have experienced it. It's like my life following footy has run on a different time track to my experience of the outside world - of the greater history that's unfolded during my life. When I think of myself in the 1980s, of the political events, the music, the fashion etc, it seems more recent than when I think of the footy of that era, and the same goes for every period since. Looking more recently, the struggling Tigers of 2010 feel like they were decades ago, whereas when I think about myself and what I was doing in that year, it feels like it was only yesterday.

Is it the same for anyone else? Or do some people have the reverse phenomenon?
There were actually three big upsets on that amazing September day in 1999:
- Bracks defeated Kennett
- Carlton defeated Essendon to make the AFL grand final
- The Storm defeated Parramatta to make the NRL grand final
 
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#25
Just recently, I heard someone on radio recall that the defeat of Essendon by Carlton in the 1999 prelim happened on the same Saturday that the Kennett government was turfed from power. I recall both events quite clearly - especially Kennett's defeat (if I barracked for either of the two teams I suspect I'd have a clearer memory of the footy upset). There is another coincidence of this sort that I recall as well, Richmond's rare finals win against Carlton in 2001 which happened within days of the Twin Towers collapsing.

What it has reinforced is a peculiar phenomenon of memory that I've often noticed but never mentioned to anyone before, and I'm curious if others have experienced it. It's like my life following footy has run on a different time track to my experience of the outside world - of the greater history that's unfolded during my life. When I think of myself in the 1980s, of the political events, the music, the fashion etc, it seems more recent than when I think of the footy of that era, and the same goes for every period since. Looking more recently, the struggling Tigers of 2010 feel like they were decades ago, whereas when I think about myself and what I was doing in that year, it feels like it was only yesterday.

Is it the same for anyone else? Or do some people have the reverse phenomenon?
Interesting Post.

I would guess that its similiar to how time is percieved to run quicker the older you get, as in there is no absolute reference for time, only a relative one. So for a 5 year old, 1 year is the equivalent of 20% of the time they have ever known, so seems like ages, but for a 50yo its only 2% of their experienced time, so doesnt seem anywhere near as long. From this we can draw that the longer you live the faster time appears to move as its a smaller percentage of the total experienced.

I would guess that you have far more vivid football memories over the same time period than you have of vivid memories involving politics or memorable world events for example. So over say a 20 year period, you may have 200 vivid football memories but only 20 or so memorable political event memories. So as you scan back through the relevant memories, the football related ones seem further back as you have to navigate through more memories to get to the relevant one. It would be interesting if you could relate football memories to some other subject that had a lot more specific memories (maybe kids growing up) and see whether there was a different or more similiar correlation. i.e. if your kid was 2 years old in 1999, does that seem further back than the prelim final.

I'm just guessing of coarse on this.
 
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