Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Connor Sports Report - Aussie Footy

Ben and I joined a health club last week. Our membership includes 3 complimentary sessions with a personal trainer. So while I'm familiar with gyms and their equipment, I thought it would be a good idea to meet with a trainer and develop a fitness program that would suit my needs and time constraints.

So I was assigned to Mark (Aussie pronunciation = "Mahck"). Mark is an ex-footy player with a neck span of about 3 feet. He is passionate about footy so while taking me through my workout, he gave me the low-down on Australian Rules Football.

For those unfamiliar (read: non-Australians), Australian Rules Football is extremely popular (read: obsessive) in Melbourne. The game and teams are governed by the Australian Football League (AFL). The fans call the AFL governing body "The Devil Reincarnated". There are a total of 16 teams in Australia with 9 of these teams residing within Melbourne area. So needless to say there is a lot of footy rivalry in this town. Ben and I have attempted to watch this game on the telly a few times and came away completely confused. While it's called football, the game itself is more like soccer and NFL football but without any protective padding. Players throw, kick and run with the football. The game referees blow their whistles, but the players don't seem to notice or listen to the whistle-blowing and keep on playing. Mark says this is because while there rules to the games they are not set in stone and are are considered "interpretive". So the referees calls/decisions might change from game to game.

Mark says this makes the footy fans "chuck a spaz" (read: get angry).

A popular (read: required) thing to do within Melbourne is be associated with a footy team. There are generations of families who all "barrack" (read: cheer) for their team. The Connor Family has already been asked several times who our team of choice is and since we are undecided, the pressure is on for our Aussie friends to recruit us to cheer for their beloved. Saturday is footy day and everywhere you go, whether the market or the pubs you'll see fans with their footy scarves on promoting their love for their specific club. The scarves are just like the scarves we wear in winter, but they have the footy team's name and colors on them. Sort of like wearing a Chicago Bears winter scarf.

Anyway, back to Mark. In the midst of describing the fervor people have for their teams he also said it is very common for rivals (this means FANS not the actual team members) to seek each other out and "give it heaps". In American terms, this means to "talk trash" about the other's team.

For example, Mark said if you really want to offend a fan from the opposing team you walk up to them and say

"Hey Filth.."

and if you really want to insult them you say "Hey Filth" with an American accent....

(Picture me lifting weights and cracking up at the same time - ROLF! :)

Anyway, Mark is trying to recruit me to support his team which is Carlton (or is it Collingwood? or St. Kilda? or Richmond?)

He has one more training session to convince me....

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