Why we love our game of Aussie Rules

SteveIngham Roar Rookie

By SteveIngham, SteveIngham is a Roar Rookie

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    Adam McPhee of the Dockers celebrates their win after the AFL Round 05 ANZAC Day match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Western Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium, Perth. Slattery Images

    Adam McPhee of the Dockers celebrates their win after the AFL Round 05 ANZAC Day match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Western Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium, Perth. Slattery Images

    It’s easy to get carried away in football. If a story is on the front page of the newspaper, if it leads the nightly news or takes up hours of talkback radio, most likely it is an ugly story. A scandal of some description. Sex. Drugs. Alcohol. Violence.

    Aside from the Brownlow Medal and the grand final, it is the scandals that are given much more airplay and paper inches than the game itself.

    Or it is someone being critical about game style. Too soft. Too many stoppages. Too defensive. Then, in the off season, when there is nothing else to occupy our minds, these stories gain more legs than they need.

    No games on the weekend to capture our attention.

    But it is the game itself that we love. The sense of anticipation right before the bounce of the ball at the beginning of a game. The tense feeling when the clock ticks up to 25 or 26 minutes and your team are up by a point. The roar in the outer when someone takes a screamer in the goal square.

    These are the just a small number of things we love about football.

    Whether you barrack for a club with a long and steep history, or one of the clubs started in the last couple of decades, you carry a passion for the club. We bleed the colours of the jumper that we admire.

    That’s why we will sit on a plastic chair on a wet, windy freezing night at the MCG just to share our passion with fellow supporters. To ride every bump, groan at every turnover, cheer with every mark, jump with every goal and scream at every poor decision.

    The atmosphere gives us so much. Tens of thousands of fans walking to the colosseum to cheer on their gladiators. The noise outside the ground, everyone previewing what they are about to witness.

    Or dissecting the match the night before. The hot pie, the cold beer in the plastic cup. The corny slogan on the banner. The fact someone always says “yeah, sing it now, that’s the only time you’ll hear your song today” when each teams theme song plays as the teams run out.

    The footy record and radio in your ear to follow what your watching. Football is full of tradition, not just on the field, but the rituals we carry out off field while following our team.

    Then there are the players.

    The ones that can do things that make you smile. That make you sit back in your chair and say wow. The players that leave you thinking, gee I wish he played for us. Like when Buddy Franklin scoops the ball up at half forward, arcs toward the boundary line, kicks off his left foot, even though it’s the traditionally wrong side for a left footer, and bangs one through from 55.

    Or when Chris Judd splits a pack in half leaving 10 teammates and opponents in his wake, bounces and goals. Or Dustin Martin when he gives a “don’t argue” and snaps a goal.

    Every team has players that you pay to go and watch, or sit down and watch a game on telly just to see them do what they do best. The mercurial like Alan Didak kicks an impossible goal from the boundary.

    The tough like when Jonathon Brown smashes a pack. The courageous like when Nick Riewoldt runs with the flight of the ball and marks running straight into a pack. The breathtaking like Cyril Rioli with his one handed pick up at full pace.

    The roar when Jack Riewoldt flies for mark of the year every week.

    Franklin, Judd, Didak, Brown, the Riewoldt’s and Rioli are among the most watchable players in the competition, there is no doubt. Add into that list Gary Ablett, Kurt Tippet, Joel Selwood, Barry Hall, Liam Jurrah and more.

    These players, some are genuine superstars of the game; some are young emerging players and half the thrill of watching them is seeing them develop.

    We are so lucky to have such a performance to go and see every week. Such diversity in teams, players and fans. The nail biters and the upsets. The blockbuster matches that promise so much and the matches that hold little promise in the build up, but then deliver in bucketloads. Football is more than a sport to so many people. It is why millions of people attend matches each year and other sports play to empty stadiums.

    It is a passion. A love.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • Roar Guru

      May 18th 2011 @ 7:45am
      mds1970 said | May 18th 2011 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Awesome article. Got to love the footy.

    • Roar Guru

      May 18th 2011 @ 8:33am
      Redb said | May 18th 2011 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Good article Steve. Every club has at least one player that sends the fans into overdrive as soon as they go near the ball, you can feel the thunder roll in the crowd.

    • May 18th 2011 @ 12:00pm
      GrantS said | May 18th 2011 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Nice one!

    • May 18th 2011 @ 7:11pm
      Republican said | May 18th 2011 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

      I also love the fact that our code has remained an Australian institution at the most elite level, despite the pressure of globalisation to compromise and homogenise sport amongst other commodities, these days.

      The old rivalries although diluted somewhat remain so, for how much longer is anyones guess.

      We have an Australian code that is the envy of all on comers despite it’s lack of international status and THIS is what we must protect as it’s custodians, because once that is lost so too will we lose the distinctive culture that has sustained a passion for our game like no other the length and breadth of these fatal shores.

      • Roar Guru

        May 19th 2011 @ 2:19pm
        Redb said | May 19th 2011 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        The old rivalries are healthier than ever, competitive teams makes a difference.

        • November 23rd 2016 @ 2:43pm
          I love futbool said | November 23rd 2016 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

          I luv futbool alought

    • May 19th 2011 @ 12:34pm
      Jaceman said | May 19th 2011 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

      I love the unique Australianess – remember when Murdoch he was going to take Super league to the world – ended in failure – leave AFL the way it is and concentrate on Australia first..

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