If it wasn't for football you wouldn't be reading this column today. Sounds melodramatic, but it's true. You see, my father was a traitor. The six-foot-tall, broad-shouldered Queenslander decided to ditch his calling for rugby and play real footy. At the age of 18, he made his way to Burnie in Tasmania to play for the Cooee Bulldogs with his mates. Forty-five years later and he can nearly call himself a Tasmanian. While his mates left for the better weather, Dad fell in love, raised two daughters to love AFL and refuses to call anywhere else home. His only self-professed failure as a father was not raising us to be Geelong supporters, but he is trying very hard to convert his grandchildren early - even his unborn grandson is already a Cats member. In Tasmania, footy is our religion. I was staggered to discover my future husband didn't follow an AFL team when I first met him 14 years ago. Too scared to introduce him to my father, I demanded he pick a team before we could be officially dating. Whether it be soccer, rugby or footy - how do you choose a team? For the husband it was the colours of his country team - just happened to the Demons. I still don't understand how he could pick from scratch and choose the bottom-placed team. But the husband is another example of the Tasmanian air making people live and breathe football. He went from "what is footy?" to a card-carrying Demons member for the past 10 years and still no victory in sight. I was brainwashed by my grandfather to support Essendon (I don't want to talk about it), my sister chose North Melbourne because she was in love with Wayne Carey (this was before those incidents), others choose a team because one of the players were drafted from their home town or perhaps it's because their team is based in their region. And this brings me to my main point. Tasmania has a population of 515,000 people. Of those, 91,000 are financial members of an AFL club. We've provided the AFL with some of the very best players to ever kick a Sherrin. The likes of Darrel Baldock, Ian Stewart, Peter Hudson, Royce Hart, Alastair Lynch, Matthew Richardson, Michael Roach, and more recently Grant Birchall and Ben Brown. There are the coaches of the likes of Rodney Eade, Brendon Bolton and Chris Fagan, and we even provide some men in white (or whatever colour it is these days) with the likes of Mitch LeFevre. And of course, we bred one of the best commentators going around - Tim Lane. As Fagan said in 2017: "The AFL won't be truly complete until there is a Tasmanian team". In Tassie, we don't want a team because it is the "right thing". We're also not pushing for a team because "everyone else has one". And it's not another instance of us being left off the map - remember the missing Apple Isle in an Arnotts Shapes box or Woolies forced to remove merchandise? We may have a bit of a complex here in Tassie, but that's not why we deserve an AFL team. We are pursuing a team because the reasons why we have been told no in the past do not stack up. We've been told the North/South divide cannot be overcome - not true. The hardest task will be getting the AFL to believe. Even former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou says now is the time for Tassie to enter the national competition. This is from the same man who refused to meet with the Premier in 2008 and said it could never happen. The case for a team will be based on economics, and also ensuring the talent pathways are available to every boy and girl in Tasmania. Other sports can achieve this - just look at Ricky Ponting. He is proof you can grow up in a low-socioeconomic area called Mowbray and end up captaining Australia in cricket. Tassie has world champions in cycling, triathlon, and swimming. We have our Big Bash team, the NBL is paying particular interest to us and soccer continues to rise. If I don't quite have you over the line yet, just think how good would our games would be in Tassie? We wouldn't serve a meat pie, instead, you would get the classic scallop pie with the best Tassie beer, Boag's (happy to be parochial on this one). Have I convinced you? If so, sign this pledge to support this current, and perhaps last pursuit, for Tassie to have a team.