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Journals from Deakin University, Australia

2009-08-17 Sports

One of the biggest features of Australian life is the sports culture. There arent as many big sports down here as there in the States, but the fans follow them just as closely, if not more so. The huge sport down here, especially in the state of Victoria is Australian Rules Football, or Footie for short. It is religion down here and people are fanatical about their teams. Melbourne is the heart of Footie culture with 4-5 teams. The grand stage of Footie is the Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG which is a huge stadium that can fit 100,000 people when full. Ive been to one Footie game already and going to another one really soon. Theres nothing like going to a live game. The fans are loud the entire game and its very electric and exciting. Plus you get the experience of eating a meat pie with some real Australians, which I did. The game I saw was Geelong vs Carlton at the MCG. I went with a bunch of my flatmates who are all Geelong supporters so naturally I had to cheer for them as well. It was a really good game. Its a pretty physical sport, kind of like rugby but a little different. Its played on an oval field and players kick goals through goal posts rather than running the ball into an end-zone. Its fast paced and play rarely stops for more than a minute which adds to the excitement. Unfortunately Geelong lost, but it was still an amazing experience. Im a huge soccer fan, so as soon as I found out there was a professional team in Melbourne I was quick to find out when and where they played. As it turns out, the Melbourne Victory were league champions last season and there are high hopes with the fans that theyll repeat this year. While soccer is followed as closely as Footie, there is still a solid fan base. The Victory play at the Etihad Stadium in the Docklands. Ive been to two games, the last of which was a draw 3-3 thriller that had the fans buzzing with excitement and energy. The roar of the crowd after the last Victory goal rivals anything Ive heard in professional sports. The diehard fans are singing and chanting the entire game. Ill be going to several more games over the course of the trimester and Im very excited. The sports culture down here is fantastic and Im loving every minute of it. And one of the best parts is the fact that games are actually affordable! Much better than in the US. Good seats at a soccer game cost me AUS $12 with a student discount and decent Footie tickets arent much more. You can tell that the Aussies love their sports and their teams.

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