Aussie Experience nr. 6- Australian Footy!
Last time my family and I visited Australia, footie season hadn’t started yet, and we missed out on something truly Australian. This time one the other hand the season had already started and we were about to see how intergrated a part of the Australian way of life footie really is. Since I’m not 100% sure about the terminology I will refer to normal European football as simply football and Australian footbal as Aussie rules or just footie 🙂
For a quick description of what footie is, here’s Wikipedia’s description of it:
Australian rules football or Australian football, also commonly referred to as football, footy, Aussie rules or AFL (although AFL is actually the name of the elite national league, not the sport).. It is a football variant played between two teams of 18 players plus 4 interchange players outdoors on large oval-shaped grass fields (often modified cricket fields), with a ball in the shape of a prolate spheroid.
The day we dropped Karl Kristian off at the airport Jeff had reserved tickets for us to watch an AFL game! Too bad you missed out on it Karl Kristian.. it was awesome! We watched North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Carlton Magpies and I chose the kangaroos as my new AFL team. The logic behind it was pretty clear, as in a real fight a kangaroo would demolish a puny magpie. Turned out that the Magpies were not to be messed with, and they ended up beating the Roos pretty badly. I kept the hope up for a while , but had to cave in eventually.. Emilys boyfriend Nick and Lauras boyfriend Jeff were nice enough to explain what happened during the game as there are plenty of rules that weren’t very obvious at first. The Ethihad stadium itself was huge and it was only the second biggest in the city as the number one stadium had enough seat for close to 100 000 people! Australian football is a really good spectator sport as there are a lot of goals and plenty of chances of the game going in either teams favour. We enjoyed it immensly as you can probably see on our faces.
Karl Kristian and me caught the end of the last Magpie game in Lorne on tv, and the first thing we noticed about the game was the extreme theatrical movements of the referees. They are hilarous and Karl Kristian and me spent the rest of the Melbourne trip immitating them at every chance we had 🙂
We went out to eat before the match and had some amazing food at The World, a fusion style restaurant along the river in downtown Melbourne. My dish for the night was Italian fused with Australian, Kangaroo Gnochi! It was really good! So if you ever get the chance to have Italian styled kangaroo then go for it 🙂 The Keelys were again generous enough to pay for our dinner even without telling us, as Emily kept pushing me out of the resturant making me believe that we were actually running away from the bill! Thanks again Jenny and Richard!
As Dan is playing in the second league, the league right below the AFL, Richard invited me to go watch one of his games. As I by now had gotten very interested in the game, it was a no brainer and I was more than glad to join him. He picked me up from the Cold Rock place I described earlier, awesome ice cream!, and we drove over to the Carlton Magpies old football stadium. It was a completely different experience to watch the game from such a short distance, as it was a smaller and much more intimate stadium. It gave a completely different perspective on the game and the the added bonus of knowing one of the players made the game even more enjoyable. Dan played really well and I even managed to get a few snapshots of him in action 🙂 During the half game break Richard and me had some time to practice my non existant footie skills, as I tried to kick atleast half the distance of the regular football players. It didn’t work out very well as most of the kids below 10 years of age were sending the ball far beyond were I tried to kick it, with much more accuracy as well. We had to leave a bit before the game ended as Jenny was preparing dinner for us since we had to eat before our bus for Sydney left later that night.
Leaving Melbourne was sad as we don’t get to see the Keelys so often due to the distance. Emily is travelling and working in the USA for a while and Laura has just moved to England for a period so this means that we will get to spend a lot more time with them 🙂 After having another delicious dinner, this time with Kangaroo meat!, we had to say goodbye to Jenny and Emily before Laura and Richard took us to the bus station where another overnight travel awaited us. Thanks again for everything, we had an amazing time!
Btw, since Jeff gave me a Kangaroos scarf I am officially the only fan the Kangaroos have in Norway! Way to go recruiting Jeff 🙂