Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We love football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars!

It's a new season.  No, not that one. Yes, it's fall here but so far it feels and looks exactly like summer.  Pretty cool if you ask me because I like to be warm.  No, I mean sports.  We've shifted now from being cricket crazy to the fall sports of Aussie Rules Football and Rugby League.  Partially because the Australian cricket team has pulled a "Labor Party" and started completely imploding.  Look at me!  I just made an Aussie joke.

Anyway, Sean and I are now watching new sports again without having any idea of the rules.  Is this what my friends who don't like football feel like when they watch the Super Bowl?  It's wild.  Since I love sports in general I find it easy to watch and try to glean rules and differences between the two.  So far, it is fantastic!  Unbelievably fast and brutal.  Plus, the announcers are an absolute riot.  They don't mess around with political correctness.  If someone is playing badly they talk about it.  It makes for a very fun watching experience as I never know what they will say.  Kinda like if every announcer was Bill Walton.  You are somewhat annoyed but it's very entertaining.

Plus, they play hard to the final whistle even if the game is out of hand.  There is still an amount of pride so that's very refreshing to see.  Yes, in the NRL this year there is also a drug scandal happening.  Apparently some teams have been injecting their players with horse drugs.  This partially came to light when a player saw a bottle and asked somebody what "equine" meant.  This made me laugh and then it made me sad.  For so many reasons.  Hopefully, they will get everything straightened out.

Here is Coley's quick guide to Aussie Rules and NRL.  I will probably laugh at this when I look back after actually knowing what's going on.  I'm looking forward to that.

Aussie Rules:  AFL

  • Called "Football" or "Footy"
  • Huge Round Field
  • No Offsides
  • High scoring games
  • The ball is moved by kicking it forward in the air or punching "hand balling" it to a teammate.
  • If a player is running with the ball they must bounce it occasionally on the ground.  This makes for great fun as the ball is oblong and things don't always go as they should. Imagine a football player bouncing the ball as they run for a touchdown. 
  • The main way to score is by kicking the ball between the two taller goal posts in the middle. This is a goal.   But you can score less points by kicking it past the end line through the other posts, or hitting a post, or if it hits another player behind the line, or other stuff that keeps coming up every time I watch.   This is called a "behind".   The goal umpire will then signal an airplane to land, oops, I'm sorry, will wave a flag in a gesture that indicates how it should be scored. 
  • A lot more contact is allowed.  You can hit people in the air when trying to get the ball.  You can basically hit anybody at any time except you can't block for someone trying to get in the endzone area.  
  • My favorite is the umpires.  They start the match by throwing the ball directly down in the middle of the field.  A true "jump ball".  AND they do throw-ins from the side with their back to the field.  It makes it look like they called all the single ladies together and he's about to throw the bouquet after the wedding.  I'm pretty sure these big, tough guys would not want to know that's what I think of every time it happens.  But, that's exactly what it is!
  • Every team has a theme song that is played at the end of the games. They all sound like they were recorded in a 60's Lawrence Welk theme park and they are all awesome! 

My adopted team:  Collingwood Football Club, the Magpies.  Before we even left the States one of Sean's co-workers recruited us.  He said no one he knows cheers for them in Sydney so he wanted to get at us first.  I find this brilliant and love the passion and crazy factor.   He is rewarded with my support. :)  Since coming though I have found that Collingwood is the most supported club in the AFL.  Maybe because they recruit us before we get here.

Rugby:  NRL

  • Called "Football" or "Footy"  yes, it's very confusing.
  • Huge square field
  • Players carry the ball down the field and can only pass backwards.
  • Each team gets 5 tackles before it must kick the ball away.
  • Scoring happens when a player touches the ground with the ball past the goal line.  This is called a "try".  After each try, the scoring team gets a free kick to "try at goal" for more points.  You may also get a try at goal after a penalty.  Also, field goals can be kicked at any time during play by drop kicking through the uprights. 
  • Seems more organized and a little less chaotic than Aussie Rules.
  • Tons of rules that I have no idea about. 

My adopted team:  South Sydney Rabbitohs  I live very close to where they train, Russell Crowe is part owner and their mascot is a rabbit with evil red eyes.  How could you not love this team?
Not as impressed with their theme song since it's "Glory, Glory Hallelujah" with different lyrics.  Not very original but you can't win them all.

Here is video of what rugby league looks like.

Bonus video for those of you that made it through the post!  This is one of my favorite commercials ever!  Holden is a subsidiary of US-based GM Motors but don't tell Australians.  If you give it a different name they can claim it.