June 9, 2006


It’s no secret that I’ve never been much for sports. Like a fish in mud, sports and I have never gotten along too well, and like oil and water, I doubt we ever will. Sometimes the only thing I feel I can hope for is a sort of uneasy truce. I used to play baseball, as a tyke. My dad was the coach of my little league teams for a few years, and I mostly enjoyed it. But I was always the husky kid who didn’t ever seem to quite … get it when it came to athletics, and eventually, I gave up on them and moved on to things like art, music, philosophy, and science; the things of the mind.

Lately, I’ve had this inkling that I haven’t got too much in common with most of the guys I’ve met here in Australia. We have our faith, and that’s cool, but as far as most conversation goes, I’m still a bit out of the loop. It seems that, even more than in America, sports (especially footie) are built into the DNA of the Australian culture. Even most women here can tell you what their favorite team is and key players and who won what match last week, even if those women don’t care (but most do). It’s not that Australians don’t like to think; they do (Ruth and Pete are both sordid intellectuals who can also tell you that Collingwood beat Brisbane last week).

This makes me very uncomfortable. I’ve always hated sports types, because they always hated me; it was a mutual thing, I suppose. I was the guy who set the curve too high in school, and they were the ones that made fun of me during Phys. Ed. I always figured that they were too busy bashing their heads into the ground (killing off brain cells) to focus on their schoolwork, but I imagine that they probably thought that I was too busy reading to find time to exercise. It’s funny to me that one of my two best friends from college was a football player in high school, but I think that we had so much else in common (music, philosophy, and our mutual faith) that it never really seemed to crop up.

And so I think that my newest project is to learn about this game called “footy.” From what I can tell, it’s something of a phenomenon here in Australia. It’s nothing like American Football, except that they run around on a field with a ball that’s mostly oblong. But even the ball doesn’t quite look the same. The field is oval, not rectangle, and there are no uprights, only four posts of two sizes at each end. Oh yeah – and they don’t wear padding.


Greg said...

Is it Australian Football? or something else?

Shawna said...


Chris said...

There are, from what I can tell, 3 separate games that vaguely resemble American football. There's two variations on Rugby (Rugby League and something else whose name escapes me) and then Aussie Rules, which is what is most commonly referred to as "Footy". It's the most like American football, except instead of throwing to pass, they have to pass by kicking the ball, which is like a pigskin but with blunted ends, and it looks far cooler. And none of the games involve padding, which makes them a bit slower paced, but ultimately more interesting.