I have always considered most sports to be a complete waste of time and energy, for a variety of reasons. And for most of my life, I have found myself surrounded by people who feel vaguely the same way. Other “art freaks” who preferred to fake illness and sit in the art rooms during phys ed class so we could work on our folios while listening to rad tunes, and laughing about all the dumb-shit Neanderthals who got off on competitive team sports. And then at university: same deal. No competitive sports for us art students; our exercise regime most often consisted of sprinting to the bus stop, or riding bikes to the petrol station for late night snacks.
So this is my background. I hope you understand where I am coming from, because I am about to let off some steam about something that has been digging at me since I arrived in Victoria:
Australian Rules Football.
As my impassioned housemate pointed out to me, after I scoffed a little at his request for the boys to join him at a “footy game”, Melbourne is the home of AFL. I should show some respect.
It was created here in 1857 as a way for cricket players to keep fit in the off season. The first football club was created in Geelong the next year, and within 70 years it had became a national sport and past time.
Since then, many fit and muscular young men- at first with large moustaches, then with fashionable haircuts- have risen to national fame and notoriety as talented footballers. They get paid a lot of money, have testosterone pouring out of their orifices; and in my experience with them in bars, are used to girls loosing their shit when in their vicinity (and subsequently have no qualms about boring holes into your ass with their beady little eyes). Ridiculous fan worship of these players have led to an incredibly boring and disappointing situation, where people who can run fast and kick hard are better known and more revered than those with intelligence and creative ability. Yes, I am a little jealous of this imbalance, but despite that, does it not seem to anyone else to be a little on the de-evolution side?
I can understand, to a point, the draw card of a big sport game. The drinking, the feeling of collective excitement in the crowd, the passion, the yelling… but the beer is over priced, the passion can too easily turn to violence, and the yelling is just loud. If you want a good reason to have your hearing get worse, go and see a live band or something.
“Oh, but if you ignore all the fans and the personality of the players, the technical aspects of the game are actually quite interesting.”
Fuck you. It’s a bunch of dudes running around with a hunk of dead cow, finding the most effective way to hit a ball in the air through some poles, while simultaneously preventing the other team from doing so. Give me a fucking break. The only way I could be impressed by this is if any animal other than humans showed that level of team work.
The game itself is a good way to teach children how to work in a team, I can see that. I recently saw a thing on television about how AFL was being taught to young adults in Palestine and as a means to break down barriers and promote friendship. That’s great! Kudos to the organizers of that program, every bit helps. But it doesn’t change the fact that brutal idolization of a sport and the people who are good at playing it is dumbing down Australia’s population, just as much as advertising, Big Brother, Adam Sandler comedies and Grey’s Anatomy.
I’m over all this bullshit excitement about the football season. I don’t believe that competitive sports have any real relevance to the age we live in. I can only hope that this world-wide consciousness shift I’ve been reading so much about comes fucking soon, because right now- given that educated and creative people I know are getting sucked into the aforementioned bullshit- I have very little hope for humanity.