Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Aussie Rules OK

Sydney Swans (red) take on the woeful Hawthorn Hawks at the SCG

I've lost count of how many different sporting events I've been to since I got to Sydney. Australians take their sport very seriously, and thanks to the climate there are plenty of options available. I love living in Edinburgh, don't get me wrong, but when you have a choice of either watching the Scottish rugby team in the driving rain or watching Hearts or Hibs in the driving rain, your sporting enthusiasm tends to dampen like a heavy drizzle seeping into your pockets.

So it was on Sunday I found myself in unfamiliar surroundings once again, this time at an Australian Rules Football game - or football, as I was talking about earlier. Thankfully, this code is usually referred to as footy (pronounced 'fuddie'). The Sydney Swans play at the Sydney Cricket Ground, so it was a shock for me to arrive to find massive crowds and a near total sellout - on my previous trips there to watch cricket I had entire grandstands practically to myself.

Footy is very odd, a sporting hodge-podge of rugby and football - but it's played at a frantic pace and moves from end to end. It looks exhausting, particularly as Sunday was very hot - but then Australians routinely play sports in temperatures that would kill most Scottish athletes. Sydney won in the end, easily defeating the Melbourne side Hawthorn. After the game you could go onto the pitch, which was great - although extremely dangerous as there were footballs flying in every direction, and I saw a few people take one on the back of the head.