Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Footy Edition

Yesterday, I attended my first Australian Football Match. The Australian Football League is celebrating its 150th year as an organization but prior to that, there were smaller leagues, the largest of which was centered in Victoria. Thus Melbourne is considered the true home of footy. Further evidence of this is that there are 16 teams in the AFL and 7 of them call Melbourne home. This is even more telling when you remember that Melbourne only has about 5 million people. The result is that alliances have torn families apart, brother against brother, since there are so many teams to choose from.

I've been instructed to be an Essendon fan and I am happy to comply, in spite of the fact that there is a St. Kilda team, the closest one to my neighborhood. But I want to keep the peace at home, and since Adi has excellent taste in sports teams- he liked the Giants and the Yanks before even meeting me- who am I to argue.

So, this morning, in keeping with the Essendon spirit, I did something I don't think I've ever done before in my life. I sat down and put on RED SOCKS to go to a sporting event. I borrowed Adi's old Essendon jumper and this, combined with the Essendon beanie Adi gave me as part of my welcome to Melbourne kit, completed my outfit. As we began our walk to the train- even if we had a car, the train is by far the easiest way to get there- it began to rain slightly. But no worries, as the Telstra dome has a dome so the game can go on.

I was afraid my constant barrage of questions might annoy Adi but he was a good sport- and perhaps remembered my patience when explain what a ribby (aka RBI) is. At the risk of offending Aussies who pride themselves on the longevity of their sport, I can compare the game a bit to Hockey, in that play is constant and the athleticism of the players is impressive. Of course, there is no ice; rather the players run up and down the length of the grounds. They can either kick the ball, which is similar to our football, only a little more rotund- or they can hand punch it- similar to a volleyball serve. They can only hold the ball for 10 meters and then must either punch or kick it to a teammate or bounce it, a bit like dribbling- but remember, the ball isn't round. Nevertheless, this aspect of the game reminds me of basketball, especially with the back and forth up and down the field. It's also similar to our football in that tackles happen to the players who wear no protective gear (well, I assume they wear cups but our cheap seats didn't allow for too much investigation of that topic). A tackle is only legal if it happens to the player who has the ball and can only come from the side, not the front or back. And, given the lack of HGH being used, I can't really compare the game to baseball at all. Especially since the team in red doesn't suck :-)

The refs are amazing athletes themselves as they probably all run at least a 10 K each game and the ball is almost constantly in motion.

There are two type of scores- goals, which are 6 points each and behinds, which are worth a single point. Four goal posts at either end denote the goal area and a ball that passes through the center polls is a goal. If it goes through the outer poles, or hits a pole, tis only a behind.

I am thrilled to report that we pummeled the North Melbourne (alas, not yet referred to as No-Me-- but if that does become a trend, you heard it hear first!) Kangaroos. I think the final score was about 119-60 or something. But we kicked ASS. As it's only the first round of a 22 game season, Adi cautions me not to get too cocky (NOT ME????). That didn't stop me from coming up with clever barbs like the Kanga-BOOS.

The rest of the holiday weekend (Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays) was fun and productive. We put together our table- using the leaf from the giant table we're going to get rid of and legs from IKEA. Also put together a dresser and some nightstands care of the Swedish geniuses. And we took a nice drive down the coast to Sorrento, near the southern peninsula, with two other couples. And, due to popular demand...here are some pictures!

This is me in my Essendon gear...not sure why it won't rotate properly.

Here is the footy field:
Here are a couple of our apartment:
The kitchen- the table we made with ikea legs is against the wall on the right now, but i took the pic before that!

And here's is our lounge room, as they say. The giant table is the one we're getting rid of- we took the leaf out and used that to make our new, smaller one. You can actually see the leaf leaning against the wall.
Finally, here are the people we went to Sorrento with. From L-R, it's Alyah, Nat, Sammy and his dog, Adi and Toby, who is trying to look super tough...and failing, I'm afraid.


VocalStud said...

heh heh.
the picture in the Essendon get-up is classic.
You look so darned HAPPY! WHich of course I like to see.
Cheers! - Mark

HK said...

......"and I am happy to comply....."

wha? huh?

who's writing this and what have you done with Sheryl?!


Anonymous said...

"NoMe" ha! I just found out I live in "SoSlo" (South Park Slope) and that SpaHa (Spanish Harlem) is no longer affordable.

Great pictures, post more!!!!