Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Austrobludgeon rain making ritual (or possibly something more arcane)

Now B and I have been working on learning as much as we can about our new country -- because someone who doesn't try and fit in to the culture and norms of the place deserves to be as miserable as they're going to be. In a lot of ways it's not too hard: there are a lot of parallels between the places and cultures, and we share some of the source material. We speak the same language (mostly) and have a similar sense of humour. We play the same sports... well, mostly. Now Barbs is a cricket fan and so the TV was on the sports channel. I'm a mediocre spectator as I like doing rather than watching, and I like the more solitary outdoor/danger-sports myself but in order to get on with people (in this area for instance it's rugby union and cricket) actually knowing a little about the sport and players is social lubricant. So when I switched on the TV to watch the news with my breakfast (boring, middle-aged habit of mine, but B's usually not up then, and if she is, eats on the run. I've been up for a few hours and like to switch off mail etc mode, and move onto book mode.) there was Australian commentator talking so instead of switching over to news I watched... and after 25 minutes I concluded I had either stumbled on the Austrobludgeon rain making ritual -- there was quite a lot of crashing into each other and bleeding and it was chucking down with rain, or something more arcane still - 'Australian rules'. The ball was a miniture rugby ball, the field was a cricket pitch, they played basketball with no hoops and the poles had made babies... and after 25 minutes I had figured they were trying to kick the ball between some of the posts. I wasn't sure which direction they were playing in or what else they were doing. Oh, and they had IIRC behinds, which were not at all what I thought they might be any more than 'silly mid-on' is what any non-cricket innoculated person would think it was. Still... I thought 'better learn if you want to fit in' so I looked it up on Wikipedia... Which clarified a few things, but I suspect this going to be a steep learning curve. Why are there so many poles?


  1. I prefer to call it Aussie Rules Aerial Ping Pong myself. <grin> Never had much of an interest in it myself, but it's apparently a lot closer to Gaellic football than anything else (making it possible to actually play exhibition international matches at least).

    And yes, by moving to the South you've entered Aussie Rules territory. Rugby (either League or Union [don't look at me to tell you what's the difference]) has a greater following in NSW and QLD. Attempts to establish franchises outside these states have been met with consistent failure, whereas the national Aussie Rules competition (which actually used to be the Victorian competition) has managed to penetrate these states successfully.

    There are strong local competitions in both SA and TAS (or at least there were in Tassie last time I looked which was quite a few years ago), and it often forms a binding aspect to the community outside the cities (at least to the degree of supporting the local footie club with a sausage sizzle and the like).

    But it's also perfectly acceptable not to avidly follow the game. Or at least, I think it is. <grin>

    [Then again, the majority of my friends who are interested in the game have previously expressed the reason of their interest as being "tight shorts." (The sample space was entirely female however).]

  2. Oh yeah, the national game where the only way to have an international competition is to change the rules & 2/3 of the teams in the national league come from one state (although when I was a kid they all came from one state).

    (Looks at Wikipedia article. Umm, right, sure. Eh?)

    As sports go, you actually don't need to know much to be able to watch it. Two teams. Four quarters of 20 mins each. If the ball goes through the centre posts it's 6 points (goal) and through the other posts it's 1 point (behind). If someone kicks the ball and you watch it, you get to kick it unobstructed by anyone else.

    And no one knows how the AFL final series works.

    I don't follow it anymore. The only time I see it is if I happen to at my sister's house when it's on TV (which happned yesterday and that was one of the best ends for a grand final I've ever seen, they should always be that close).

  3. Shouldn't that be catch the ball?

    Just to avoid really confusing people. <grin>

  4. Thank you for all of that, I am now keen to watch a match too, and at least I will understand what is happening!!

  5. My understanding is that its like ice hockey. Basically an excuse for a mass brawl. Only without weapons like hockey sticks and skates. But I'm sure I'm missing some subtleties ....

  6. Good Catch ;)

    My excuse, I have to use a different browser to comment with and, um, it's harder to type in

  7. It certainly used to be an excuse for a mass brawl. Like the other codes they're trying to clean up the image a bit to appeal to women (who tend to have a lot of say in what sport their children play)

    Sadly, also like the other codes, the off-field behaviour of the players leaves a lot to be desired. Endless stories of sexual misconduct and alcohol fueled brawls.

    Being from Qld originally I'm more disposed to follow Rugby League (which I used to know the rules to) or Rugby Union (which I can watch, but not explain).

    I'm prepared to believe that AFL players are fine athletes and all, but it really does still look like aerial pingpong/an excuse to wear tight shorts :)

    Oh, and Melbourne at least does have a Rugby League team now. Poor buggers played a game on the same day as the AFL grand final. Suspect that wouldn't help their attendance numbers.

    Tasmania is defintely an AFL state though. Better get used to the game :)

  8. Come and join me when the new season starts - I go to most games in Melbourne that my team plays in.

    There are also at least 2-3 AFL (the top league) games played in Tassie a year.

    I'm a Victorian, and come from a football family, but we also grew up watching Rugby, gridiron and soccer. It's all footy to me ;)

  9. (grin) I don't know how to break this to people. I really don't have much interest in men in tight shorts. I'll have to get B to cover he subject.

  10. Oh, sure, just leave it to the woman! But I must say those shorts do not cover much!