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The great Australian sporting landscape is no place for a snob

Of course Queensland have dominated Origin, they have the best players. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roar Guru
9th July, 2015
134
1974 Reads

Australia is spoilt rotten when it comes to sport.

What other nation can you think of which can boast the quality and quantity that we possess in our sporting landscape? What other nation can boast the plethora of champion players that we are able to see put their bodies on the line week in, week out for our entertainment?

We are lucky to see such an abundance of skill, power, technique and sheer guts and determination on display in a variety of different sports. And yet a large proportion of sports fans in this country are tribal and vindictive in their blind following of their perceived favourite sporting pastime.

I must admit that – though it feels like a long time ago – I was a tribal, neanderthal like snob that would only ever watch, discuss and enjoy football (the one where you actually use your feet).

I would turn my nose up in sheer disgust at the mere thought of hearing about another sport, let alone watching it. Unless I did not perceive a certain sport to be a ‘threat’ to the existence of football. Then – and only then – would I watch another sport.

Why did I do this? Because I thought it was the cool thing to do. I thought I had to defend football from all the ‘bogans’ who did not understand the beautiful game. I would make crude remarks about perceived stereotypes to feed my insecurities and ensure that football was glorified not just around the world, but in Australia. No, glorified especially in Australia.

Then it dawned on me. I am fighting a battle that has no point. I am arguing with people over a sport. A game that essentially has a ball, like most other sports, only what they do with the ball in football is different to what they do with a ball in other sports.

Why am I getting so angry and upset over something so trivial? Why am I not just enjoying the spectacle, which is why it is there in the first place?

Slowly all of these insecurities and ‘fear’ that football will be thrown into the doldrums without my feverish and vocal contempt of everything else disappeared. I mean, I’m arguing with other people in the belief that my sport won’t be lost in obscurity. They must be fighting for the same reason – fear.

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Some fans genuinely don’t enjoy watching other sports. There is nothing wrong with that, it is not sacrilege. However, there are those who have not even watched a single game of another sport, yet throw insults out like old clothes being thrown into a Vinnies bin. I should know this as I was one of them. To these people I have to ask one simple question, why are you like this?

After asking myself that same question and realising that I was unable to provide a suitable response that did not make me sound like a four-year-old kid driving passed McDonald’s and throwing a tantrum because I wanted a happy meal, I decided to leave a pointless and toxic world.

With my pointless animosity put aside, I started to watch league, union, cricket and AFL whenever it was on. I started to understand the rules, the tactics, the techniques, the skill, the intensity, the drama, the power and the bravery. I started to take it all in. And guess what? I loved it.

I still watch football religiously. I stay awake until the early hours of Monday morning watching my beloved Chelsea play even though I know I have work a few hours later. I still have my Western Sydney Wanderers membership and will always sing for the Wanderers. I still watch the Socceroos whenever they play and that game against Uruguay will always have a special place in my heart. However, I am no longer a snob of the highest order aka a sports snob.

If I was then I would not have seen Tony Lockett score his 1300th goal in the AFL and watch in awe as streams of supporters flooded the ground in an attempt embrace Plugger.

I would not be able to see the sublime Scott Pendlebury kick a ball with such accuracy that he could probably hit a 10-cent coin on the full from 50 metres away.

I would not have been able to witness the famed tie grand final between St Kilda and Collingwood which gave me goose bumps for the last two quarters. I would not have seen the emotion in Steve Waugh’s last ever day of Test Cricket at a packed out SCG.

I would not have seen arguably the greatest ever cricket side dominate the world for what seemed like an eternity, boasting players who were affectionately known as Churchy, Punter, Haydos, Pup Pigeon and Warnie.

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I would not currently be seeing the rise of Steve Smith who may well be the greatest cricket player Australia has produced since the great Don Bradman. I would have missed Mitchell Starc’s incredible Yorker to dismiss Brendon McCullum in the World Cup final.

I would not have seen John Eales lift the World Cup over his head, or his sensational penalty conversion to win the game for Australia against New Zealand and subsequently win the Bledisloe Cup.

I would never have seen Bernard Foley’s incredible 50-metre penalty in the last minute of the game to win the Waratahs their first ever Super Rugby championship against the highly fancied and star studded Crusaders.

I would not have seen Hazem El Masri’s superb sideline conversion to beat the Newcastle Knights after Andrew Johns’s field goal had kept Newcastle ahead by a point.

I would have not seen Andrew Johns win the 2005 State of Origin series virtually on his own. I would not be witness to the current Queensland Origin side, who, although I despise them, I can’t help but respect.

I’m sure we all have our favourite moments of brilliance that made us stand in awe at the athleticism that our country was able to produce. And I’m sure that a lot of you are able to appreciate the unique sporting landscape our great nation possesses which allows us to enjoy a wide variety of high quality action.

To think that I may not have been able to recount any of these great moments makes me appreciate the love I was able to create for more than one game.

If I chose to continue my blind battle I would have certainly lost the war.

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