When I was preparing to move to New South Wales, being packed up and shipped out by my family, my father came down on one knee and gave me some words of wisdom.
"Son, we'll always love you. Just never develop an interest in that awful northern sport and there'll be a place for you at our table".
That 'northern sport', as my AFL-loving father labelled it while searching for somewhere to spit at the mere thought of it, was rugby league, even if - bless his soul - he didn't know the difference between calling it 'rugby' and 'league'.
My Victorian parents weren't scared about being indoctrinated any other way, they knew I'd never stop calling foods like potato cakes or parmas their correct names and they knew I wouldn't come back for visits with a new-found enthusiasm for reverse parking.
There was one thing my friends and family feared though, me learning to do anything other than hate rugby league.
For a long while, it was hard to like because I had no idea what was going on.
It seemed weird, it was stupidly and overtly physical, and whenever I went to watch it was really cold. I'd soon learn it was always cold in Orange, whether you were at the footy or not.
Covering a Woodbridge Cup game as my first working rugby league experience was an interesting one, but part of it was I didn't understand why skills I took for granted weren't taken advantage of.
Not so much kicking itself, but rather the use of kicking. There's some really good boots in not just the NRL but even across Group 10, Willie Heta's being first among them.
A lot of teams kick and hope instead of using it tactically, to kick and run onto it or to kick and force a fullback into a corner.
Good kickers turn it into a weapon, but even the best kickers leave most AFL fans with something to be desired.
It's apples and oranges, and you'll never have the range of motion or freedom of an Aussie rules game, but it could be far more dangerous that what it currently is.
But it's marking - or catching it or pulling it in or whatever you people call it - which did me, and it's more noticeable at the higher level than lower.
Why is everyone so bad at catching the thing? You have a high ball sitting up three metres from the line - if you take the ball with momentum behind you, you're basically over the line.
Everyone goes up for a high ball and tries to go for a chest mark. As an Australian rules football fanatic, it kills me inside.
Take the ball in your hands and above the head and you get nearly another metre of height to take it, and a better chance to do something with it, too. You've got your arms free to pass it back, reach over the line - you've got options. Taking it on the chest cuts those options down.
Get a high-flying coach in. Get a gun AFL kick involved. There are crossover skills there, just waiting to be used. Obviously you're not going to get Isaac Heeney to teach you how to tackle, but he can tell you a thing or two about marking a ball.
Based on these annoyances, after a year or two I still hadn't failed my parents and I still didn't like rugby league, but on Sunday I realised I didn't have to like it to become what they'd deem 'a lost cause'.
I made the fatal error of caring, and I've now failed them.
I've now gone from being on the fence about rugby league, which I considered a game which had its moments but was still basically a glorified version of British Bulldogs to appreciating it as a game with intricacies, complexity and depth.
The moment which tuned me in was one which has tuned out so many people, especially those from Canberra - the #SixAgain fiasco.
That moment made me angry in a way I never have been about rugby league before and in a brief, terrifying moment I realised I cared.
I'd climbed aboard the Green Machine bandwagon kind of for the same reason those two absolute legends decided they were going to walk from Yeoval to Orange - it was something to do.
That, and because saying "up the milk" sounded funny.
After a week of randomly spouting "up the milk" to anyone who would listen, I realised I'd conned myself into caring about Canberra in the same way I conned myself into believing that stupid conspiracy theory that Avril Lavigne was assassinated in 2003 and replaced with a stunt double lookalike - look it up, sheeple, Big Pop has conned us all.
But I digress. I was livid at that refereeing call. I felt robbed on the Raiders' behalf. I was invested. I cared.
And the moment you care is the moment you topple over from being a casual follower to a fan.
Which I guess technically makes me an NRL fan? Sorry dad.
If it'll help you let me back in the house when I visit Victoria I'll choose to follow the Storm instead of Canberra?
You know, Melbourne Storm?
They're the purple team? No, not the Fremantle Docke... oh you know what, never mind. Up the milk.
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