Australian rules football is the best sport in the world.
I could stop there, leave you with that cliffhanger. “But why Josh? Why is it the best sport in the world?” Don’t fret imaginary readers in my head, I’ll elaborate.
After an extremely satisfying, but admittedly long summer of cricket, I have to admit that I was feeling just the tiniest bit cricketed out. Sure, I’d still happily stay glued the couch for 5 days of sporting bliss, but it would be like 1% less enjoyable.
Maybe .1%. God I love cricket. But, having won the Ashes (convincingly), and not me personally I might add, it was time for me to turn my attention to the sports I would be experiencing during my travels to the USA, namely Ice Hockey and Basketball. I was excited (despite my lack of knowledge in terms of rules, players, and other such nuances) to experience a different sporting environment than here in Australia. Boy was I let down.
First there was the Ice Hockey. The rules were simple enough, hit the puck, score a goal, yay us! The supporters seemed pretty similar to any you’d find here, and the atmosphere was pretty cool. But then the game starts, and its just skating to an end, then back, then back again… albeit with the occasional shot on goal. Maybe I was just at the wrong game, but with a final score of 1-0, it’s not hard to see where my boredom came from. And then there’s the brawling! The stupidest thing I’ve ever witnessed as part of a sport. It’s as if the players think you get points for starting a fight, when all it does is disrupt the flow of the game and waste our time. And the supporters! Cheering on the brawl like it was some street fight. These are professional athletes, role models to children and adults alike. It might not be ‘wrong’, but it was certainly something I didn’t enjoy.
Basketball, like NFL, is a sport for TV. Without the over-the-top commentary and the super-awesome-cool-slow-mo replays of everything, it’s a pretty boring game. Scoring becomes the norm, so there’s nothing special about most baskets. I might have enjoyed the tightly-contested last 5 minutes if it hadn’t have taken half an hour to transpire, what with all the time-outs. Let them play the bloody sport!
Overall, for me, watching these sports live is something I would not look to do again. I’d rather watch from home to be completely honest. But on the positive side, the experience did make me appreciate how incredible Melbourne’s sporting culture is.
It’s quite a statement to call 4 quarters of basketball boring, and then watch 5 days of a ball being hit and thrown around the MCG, but it’s one I’ll happily defend.
But, despite my love for cricket, the crux of this renewed passion for Australian sport is Australian rules. I’m sure that it’s mostly a factor of what I’ve grown up with, but footy just makes me happy, and if you ever find yourself arguing with me over which sport is the superior, just know that I simply want you to experience the joy that watching the Saint’s run out onto the field gives me. There’s another feeling I usually get when I see St Kilda playing, but I think that’s a rant for another time.