On Sunday afternoon, Matt and I went around to Dad and Sonia’s place. We had spent all morning with Joe at a popular wall in the Northern Beaches where the boys painted a two namer. The beaches were vacant and the roads were quiet which was fairly unusual for a clear and sunny Sunday in Australia. But this was no ordinary Sunday. It was the day for the famous footy finals. The Doggies versus the Storm! Everyone was so hyped about it. That is, everyone except me.
I’m still trying to figure out what the heck “footy” actually is. Is it rugby or is it soccer? And how many kinds of rugby are there? After two years here, I still don’t understand the difference between rugby league and rugby union because there’s also this other thing called AFL which I’m told is something totally different. This is where my brain starts to hurt and give up because I simply can’t keep track and well, I have no desire to. I think it’s because I’m just too spoiled.
Growing up in America where you get to watch some of the world’s best athletes compete in finals games across every different sport will have that effect on people. I’m obsessed with my own version of sports from back home, where every professional league is distinct and the differentiators are clear–the NBA (National Basketball Association), the NFL (National Football League), the MLB (Major League Baseball), the MLS (Major League Soccer). There’s no such thing as obscure, overarching names like “footy” to describe four completely different sports.
Sigh. One of these days I suppose I’ll just have to try to get it into my thick American head that “footy” is what it is and it’s here to stay. In the end, I did enjoy watching the game. It made me realize just how physically strong the athletes are here. Watching them run and get tackled on the field without any sort of protective padding made me realize just how hardcore “footy” really is. Are the players skilled, strategic, or smart? I wouldn’t go that far, but man are they brutal. One dude even pulled a Mike Tyson and bit his opponent’s ear during a fight. All in all, it’s an entertaining sort of sport and I’ll be looking forward to next year when the finals are on again. In the meantime, I’m counting down the days to Superbowl Sunday.