List item number 10 and the 21st Top 30 challenge completed, ‘Go to an AFL game’, saw us sunning ourselves at the Sydney Cricket ground today.
And I’ve gotta tell ya – I feel more Aussie already.
It’s true, a couple of years ago I’d never been to a professional football game – of any code – ever. I broke the streak in 2011 when I attended a Scotland versus Ireland Rugby match in Edinbugh, and in July last year I’ve obviously managed to add the NRL string to my bow as well. Today I made the football (not futbol) trifecta watching the Swannies obliterate the Lions (a David and Goliath feat of the highest animal kingdom order to be sure, but a snack for the human reincarnations: 115 to 55).
My oldest friend and challenger, Karen, was delightfully hospitable – spending much of the game explaining to me exactly what was going on. I really don’t envy those umpires though. How anyone can see what is going on is beyond me! Most of the time it just looked like a cartoon dust cloud with the occasional protruding limb.
Nevertheless, for the uninitiated, an AFL match isn’t all about watching the actual players. It’s also about soaking up the atmosphere, which, in our case, meant soaking up excessive quantities of vitamin D. I’m almost certain the Swans chose red and white as their colours because that’s what the whole crowd looks like after a long afternoon in the sun.
Which brings me to my next point… if you’re not a big sports fan, a day spent with the Sydney Swans is also the perfect opportunity for a rousing game of ‘Where’s Wally?’ Though, if you’re *actually* looking for Wally, you’re probably in the wrong code… and the wrong century.
I got into the ‘Where’s Wally?’ spirit too of course. In fact, the guernsey Karen loaned me was the perfect camouflage (under which I could hide my completely stupefied expression). It’s lucky the head-high tackles aren’t a more common feature of the game because you really need your wits about you to keep track of all the rules. When it comes to these things I’m what the French call “Les Incompétents”.
I may not be the sport-watching type, but I do have an appreciation for any man willing to wear shorts as short as me. If those guys can live in denial then I can keep my own fashion sense cracking well into my thirties (which is just as well because my legs suffer my claustrophobia whenever subjected to full length attire for long stretches of time).
All in all it was a fun day out and I’m very glad I went… but I have to confess… I was feeling a little conflicted. You see, as a born and bred New South Welshwoman, the Swans were always going to be “my team”… Problem is, I really want to see them lose this year.
It sounds unsportswomanlike, but hear me out. You see, Andy and I managed to pull the most epic of social faux pas by scheduling our impending nuptials for the same day as the 2013 AFL Grand Final! What couple of Wallies! With at least two close friends and a whole rabble of future in-laws no doubt preferring the men in red and white to yours truly, I’m afraid I may play second fiddle on “my” (*ahem* “our”) big day.
It’s a fair call though I suppose. I mean, I’m hardly going to commando roll down the aisle, side-swipe the priest and kick a perfect goal straight into the sacristy.
(Well, not unless the bridesmaids heavily ply me with champagne first).
After today’s epic victory there’s a fair chance I may have to come up with something equally entertaining to draw the crowds away from their TVs on the big day.