Friday, July 08, 2005

Know Your Australian II

Miss Brant: Sir, your wife called. She said she lost your checkbook.
J. Jonah Jameson: Thanks for the good news!
”Spider Man 2”

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Know Your Australian”, presented by your host Heafy the Australian. I’ve got to come up with a better name…

This week, I choose to educate the masses on a very passionate subject for all Australians, “The Footy”. Footy is short for “Football”, naturally. That is a great habit of Australians, every word ever invented was too long, and we have a firm belief that the letter “y” or “o” can be added to every single word.

Depending where you are in Australia, “footy” can mean a different code of football. There are 4 types of football played here – Soccer, which is mainly plaid by kids and people of European decent. I do not know of anyone that refers to this code as “footy”. Then Rugby Union, which is mainly played in New South Wales by private school kids – though our national team is pretty kick ass most of the time. Again, people playing this code would rarely call it “footy” or even call it “football” – to them it is just “rugby”. Then we have Rugby League, which is similar to Union only that it is a modified game mainly done so for TV. As a generalisation, Union is for the upper class and League is for the working class. League is only really played in two states – New South Wales and Queensland. They call it “footy” too, but the appeal on a national level is very small.. And the forth code of football is of course our own, Australian Rules Football, which is played in every state but the most popular is Victoria.

Aussie Rules, hence forth referred to as “footy” is the most popular game in our country. It is played with 36 players on the field at a time, and the field does not have set dimensions. A bit like baseball in that fact – they have minimums but each ground is a little different. The average length of a full sized Aussie Rules ground is about 190 metres, or 210 odd yards. We like them big.

With 18 men on the field for each team, and the game going for about 2 hours all up, you need some reserves, right? 4 – that’s all you get. Aussie Rules also has the oldest set of official rules for any code of football in the world, making it officially the oldest form of football still played today. Pretty impressive.

In our national competition, there are 16 teams and ten of them are in Melbourne (or very close to it). So when you are in Melbourne, it is automatically assumed that you follow the footy. How popular is it nationally when compared to the other sports?

Soccer – with crowds at about 2000 at the highest level in Australia, bankruptcies are common. With 2000, they still manage to have soccer riots when teams associated with certain countries play some other certain teams. Sydney United, formerly known as Sydney Croatia, have been fined and threatened to be banned because of this.

Union – when Australia plays, expect a big crowd. Otherwise, small crowds except for finals.

League – more popular as a national league, an average crowd for a mid season game would be around 12,000. Only 2 states in Australia take notice of the game though, and I just unfortunately happen to be in one of them.

Aussie Rules – average crowd for a mid-season game? 30,000 or so. The biggest crowd ever was over 100,000. Some teams home games rarely drop below 50,000. The grand final stops the nation and is held on the last Saturday in September every year.

So next time you are down under and get invited to the “footy” – be careful which state you are in. It could mean a completely different game from city to city.

I think I am over my poker hiatus, I couldn’t make it through the week. I am feeling the need for some action, and that is a dangerous combination so I will be cautious and “go light” when I do hit the tables again. After all the “lessons” I’ve had, I’m sure I will be tearing them up.

Since the WSOP Main Event started today, I guess I should make my pics known. Well, why not? For some reason I hope a well known poker pro wins this year. It’s the biggest tournament of the year, and it has never been so popular, I guess I want a pro to win it to show that luck isn’t all you need. I think if a pro wins it will justify the cause that it is a game of skill first, and luck second. That’s not to say the online qualifiers have no skill – I’m just thinking about the perception from the general public. Sure, if an amateur wins it might make more people rush to the tables thinking “Hey, anyone can win, I could do this” but it will make it seem more like gambling in the general public view point.

Anyway, enough of that drivel – I think the winner this year will be a Phil – either Ivey or Hellmuth.


ArturiusX said...

Mid season NRL games are averaging 17000 at the moment, with most stadiums having a max capacity between 18000-20000.

Plus, leagues better to watch at home :P

Merrin said...

I certainly hope that the new A-League will bring in a few more spectators. It needs them!