Posted in Typical Australian

on footy

My introduction to the Australian culture progressed another step: last night I was invited to go and see a game of Footy: a mixture of soccer and rugby, played on a round filed and watched by a sizable part of the Australian populations… well, at least the ones living in Melbourne. This city alone is home to 10 of the 18 teams organized in the Australian Football League.

The game was between the Collingwood Magpies and the St. Kilda Saints (both Melbourne-based teams). Collingwood seems to be the Bayern M√ľnchen or Ajax of the AFL. You either love them or actively dislike them.

Making my way to the stadium, one of the biggest structures here in Melbourne. And right in the center of the city, too.
Making my way to the stadium, one of the biggest structures here in Melbourne. And right in the center of the city, too.

To start with, I am not the biggest sports fan in the world, and this was only the 5th professional sports event I have seen live. I was sitting in the “posh” members-only section, in the middle of supporters from both teams. The good natured way with which they interacted, even though the game is taken very seriously, was something to behold, especially if you are used to the rivalries of European soccer.

Everyone is getting ready. The referee will bounce the ball off the ground to (re-)start the game after a goal.

The game itself is a curious affair, but very enjoyable to watch. It’s fast, with almost no breaks, and a high degree of athleticism. I can only recommend having a look at it on the AFL website. As I understand it started as a diversion for the cricket players, that wanted to do something more active than just stand around while one guy is throwing a ball at another guy.

Welcome to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.
Welcome to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.
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