THERE was only one name on the lips of every footy fan around Australia earlier this week.
And it wasn’t Dusty, Gawn, or Mitchell … but ‘The Parcel’.
Adam Haarsma, or ‘The Parcel’ as he’s affectionately known, is a 27-year-old reserves footballer from the regional town of Cummins, 65km north of Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
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And over the weekend he provided one of the great footy highlights of 2018.
With the B-grade grand final of the Great Flinders Football League hanging in the balance, Haarsma collected the ball on the wing during the third quarter and dummied around two opponents, before slotting it from 50m with one of the ugliest kicks you’re likely to see.
“She didn’t come off that good and the dribble, I don’t know how it went through,” Haarsma told foxfooty.com.au.
Haarsma, who will be the first to admit is carrying a few extra kilos, is a forward who indulges in the odd stint in the midfield for the Cummins Ramblers.
And he admits he tends to try and sell candy to whoever is buying.
“I’d like to say I go through the midfield these days, but I’m a very ‘burst’ player through there,” he said.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant or anything, but I don’t mind trying it … it never normally works out but if I can get a burst, I’ll have a crack.
“I could hear the crowd going nuts, so that gave me some adrenaline and urged me to go a bit further.”
The Ramblers reserves would go on to win their grand final, undoubtedly buoyed by Haarsma’s act of individual brilliance.
Luckily for footy fans, the goal was filmed with commentary — and it went viral almost as soon as the club posted it online.
“It was all a bit bewildering,” Haarsma said.
“I couldn’t believe it at the start … it was a good thing not to read all the comments.
“Nah, some were very funny — it was pretty crazy.”
The goal was Fox Sports’ most viewed online video over the weekend, beating highlights from the actual AFL finals.
Haarsma has a no-fuss explanation.
“A video like that of a 150-kilo bloke kicking a goal just goes viral,” he joked.
Haarsma’s nickname was then just the cherry on top.
“Stupidly one night at the footy club, I called myself ‘The Package’ when Jake Stringer was killing it a few years ago, and now it’s been changed to ‘The Parcel’,” Haarsma said.
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“It doesn’t roll that well off the tongue, but I think it might stick now.”
The goal and video seemed to conjure something special within the Aussie footy community.
We found ourselves identifying not with the goal, but the ethos that surrounded it — identifying with ‘The Parcel’ ourselves, or perhaps reminiscing about a player we had played with in the past.
Haarsma is the quintessential ‘ressies hero’. That one player whose contribution to the club transcends the field itself.
Going by the response to Haarsma’s goal, the ressies hero is alive and well throughout Australia.
Despite playing a lot of senior footy in his day, it’s a title Haarsma enjoys carrying at his club.
“I loved it, I’m pretty keen to be permanent ressies next year, so I’ll hold that title,” he said.
“Down in the reserves, you just get such a combination of players. Could be a couple of 36, 38-year-olds coming down for the last couple years of their footy careers, it could be some young guys starting out their footy career and everything in between.
“Most ressies games should be filmed because you’d probably find some funny s**t in there.”
Darren Rule is the senior coach of the Ramblers — and it is his voice you can hear commentating Haarsma’s goal.
He says no one deserved premiership success more than The Parcel, after he tore his hamstring on the eve of playing in a senior flag just a year earlier.
“He’s become a bit of a cult figure, The Parcel, at the moment,” Rule said.
But as is the way with the ressies hero, Rule predicts that goal itself will have a positive ripple effect through the club and will go further than just a few laughs re-watching it at the pub.
“All the clubs have been struggling for numbers, particularly on the Eyre Peninsula with their B-grade numbers, and last year we actually forfeited a few games,” Rule said.
“That goal now becomes a historic moment in the club that will be reflected on over the years … that moment in time will be a snapshot for everyone to remember from this year.
“Going back before social media it just becomes a myth or a bit of a legend, but it’s been recorded in time so it’s there forever.
“It put our club on the map, the league we’re playing in and with our club heading into its 100th year next year, it’s almost like we’ve planned it to create some media hype around our club.”
It’s fair to say The Parcel has delivered in more ways than one.
Not just to his footy club, but to the broader Australian football community.
A timely reminder that the legend of the ressies hero is alive and well.