Beverly Hills mayor a strong supporter of the Geelong Cats

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Ben Guthrie, afl.com.au
It’s the dead of the night in Beverly Hills, California, when John Mirisch and his six-year-old son Vin fire up the laptop to watch their beloved Geelong team run around on a Friday night.Mirisch is the mayor of Beverly Hills. In that role he oversees a city that is home to world-famous actors and celebrities and one that has some of the highest real estate prices in the US.For now, though, those duties can wait – at least for a couple of hours, while his boys in the blue and white hoops strut their stuff on AFL.TV.

“The time difference sometimes makes watching matches live very challenging, though I sometimes have found that an ‘internal alarm clock’ wakes me up to watch the games live,” Mirisch tells AFL.com.au.

Mirisch first came across ‘Aussie Rules’ when seeing his brother in Australia on occasional visits down under, but his love for the Cats was born of learning about the Geelong story before the 2007 season.

One of Mirsich’s Australian work colleagues was an avid Cats fan – even flying from Los Angeles to Melbourne for the 2007 Grand Final between the Cats and Port Adelaide.

He explained the story to Mirisch.

That the Cats hadn’t won the flag since 1963; that they “played the game as it should be played”, that the team was a true representation of a small community; that the town stuck by its team, no matter what.

As Mirisch explains it, “his passion for his team was so evident”. And, after doing some of his own research, Mirisch found a similar enthusiasm.

When the games became more accessible in 2011, Mirisch signed himself up as a Cats member, and then signed up Vin the following year.

They have been members ever since.

“There is both a drama and a history to AFL that makes it irresistible,” Mirisch says.

“There’s always so much going on, and I love discovering the nuances of the game.”

Mirisch discovered much more about the game when visiting Australia in July this year.

Along with Vin, Mirisch was on hand to see the Cats beat the Hawks at the MCG in yet another thriller in round 15.

“There’s nothing like watching a game live,” he says.

The pair was also able to meet Cats players and were taken on a tour of Simonds Stadium at Geelong.

Much to his delight, Vin was even able to have a kick on the ground.

Mirisch has a keen interest in spreading the worth of AFL in the US. He has plans to get an Auskick program up and running and regularly invites friends to a Grand Final party.

The father and son also have a kick of the footy when and wherever they can.

At every level, there are no doubts about where Mirisch’s allegiances lie. You only have to look at the posters in hisoffice.

Ironically, Mirisch was born in 1963, the year the Cats broke their 11-year premiership hoodoo,  and Vin in 2007, the year the Cats broke their 44-year flag drought.

“There was a certain synchronicity which fated us to be Cats fans,” Mirisch says.

And you get the feeling he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Twitter: @AFL_BenGuthrie

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