Sentiment gives footy a heartbeat; without emotion it's just a business.
The tradition of being chaired off into retirement had a twist last week when Bryce Gibbs was hoisted onto two opponents' shoulders.
Gibbs was playing for Adelaide on Sunday but 231 of his 268 AFL games were in Carlton colours.
His close mates - Kade Simpson, who announced his retirement days later, and Marc Murphy - carried him from Metricon Stadium.
It was a heartwarming moment which highlighted the human side of sport.
But it raised the ire in some quarters with long-time journalist Caroline Wilson and former Port Adelaide player-turned-media commentator Kane Cornes expressing their concerns.
Even Carlton coach David Teague, who just watched his side squander its finals chances with an upset 16-point loss, was a little bemused.
"It was weird, I get it. There was a little part of me that thought 'I'm not sure about this' to be honest," he said.
"It's a hard moment. You've just lost a game of footy but you want to respect someone that's been a great player of the game. Next time I'd just like to do it after a win."
The consequences of the Blues' defeat were not lost on Murphy and Simpson, two loyal players whose careers have endured more troughs than peaks.
As humans we can process more than one thing at a time and realise disappointment in one area doesn't mean we need to neglect others.
Murphy and Simpson wanted to give their long-time mate an appropriate send-off.
Adelaide, having picked the out-of-favour Gibbs for a 'farewell game' against his old club, had made its own sentimental decision days earlier.
We all want to win - clubs, players and supporters.
But there's more at stake beyond the four points. It's why farewell games, where applicable, should be encouraged.
They provide closure - for the footballer and the fans who spent years following their career.
Some champions of the sport race to the finish line, others crawl across the line.
Either way, if fit enough, it's a special moment for all involved to see them run out in their colours for one last time.
Fremantle's games record-holder Matthew Pavlich kicked his 700th career goal in his 353rd and final game in 2016 - a 20-point win over grand final-bound Western Bulldogs.
Four-time Hawthorn premiership player Jarryd Roughead, who endured a cancer battle throughout his 15-year career, was recalled to play Gold Coast last year.
He could have failed to get a kick and it wouldn't have mattered to the Hawks' faithful. Or the wider football community for that matter.
Instead he finished with six goals and a wide smile.
Let's not forget footy clubs are like a second home and homes need a heartbeat.
This edition of Best On Ground was written by Warrnambool Standard journalist Justine McCullagh-Beasy.
THE FOOTY NEWS YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO MISS:
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- BRIAN ALLEN: Retirees prove sticking at it works
- ALEX FAIR:Woosha's time at Essendon ending in sad fashion
- SEAN HARDEMAN: Is it time for coaches to think about halting the stopper?
- HOWARD KOTTON: It's only fair we ditch shortened quarters for AFL's final series, right?
- ROHAN CONNOLLY: Being the top draft pick isn't all it's cracked up to be
- JUSTINE McCULLAGH-BEASY: Twins share successes on different sporting journeys
WHO PLAYS WHEN:
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
- North Melbourne v West Coast, Metricon Stadium, 7.10pm
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
- St Kilda v GWS Giants, Gabba, 7.50pm
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
- Essendon v Melbourne, Metricon Stadium, 2.10pm
- Adelaide v Richmond, Adelaide Oval, 5.10pm
- Brisbane v Carlton, Gabba, 7.40pm
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
- Hawthorn v Gold Coast, Adelaide Oval, 1.05pm
- Sydney v Geelong, Metricon Stadium, 3.35pm
- Fremantle v Western Bulldogs, Cazaly's Stadium, 6.10pm
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
- Collingwood v Port Adelaide, Gabba, 7.15pm