Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The footy

Sunday, we had the luck to land some seats at the footy (Australian Rules Football). Not just any seats, but seats with mini screens and close to the middle of the field where substitutions take place.

It was great to be at an Australian-loved (Victorian-obsessed) game watching the West Coast Eagles (my team) beat Richmond.

My lasting impression was less about the game and more about the crowd. The supporters hate the umpires. They are referred to as maggots and every call or perceived lack of call sets off the resident expert. The loudest and most frequent cheer is not actually for the teams or players, but an appeal to the umpires of "Ball!" (They are calling for the opposition to be penalised for Holding the Ball.)

There are 5 active umpires on the field that is approx (insert size of field). (It's no wonder that it's referred to as going for a kick in the paddock - you could feed a community for a year on produce from just this space.) Only in Australia would a field this size exist for a single game. The umpires are extremely fit and are more often than not in a position to see the play. However, being a contact sport, with a ball that can travel 50m with each kick, the sheer size of the field, the number players surrounding the ball and an intention to keep the game flowing, it's pretty much impossible to keep everyone happy. So how do you strike that balance?

It's impossible to play the game without umpires and impossible and not worthwhile for them to call every foul. My Pollyanna view is that supporters should have the awareness to realise this and move on. Perhaps they think it's safer to have a go at an umpire, than risk annoying the big bloke a couple of seats down.

1 comment:

  1. There, Clover found the "gardens and great trees and old cottages...so beautiful" that seeing them exhausted her. It was as if, she joked with her husband, "this English world is a huge stage-play got up only to amuse Americans. It is obviously unreal, eccentric, and taken out of novels.
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