They Opened The Door!!
They finally did it. Tony and Mike talked about Aussie Rules Football! So what if it was 2 minutes about whether or not minor league player Brett Blackwell is a complete and total freak for having his finger cut off so he can keep playing. It's a mention, and thereby opens the door for me to list 10 reasons why I love this game.
1) The freaking passion. Did you read the above paragraph? Footy's the only thing going in Australia for the most part. Sure, they have a basketball league, rugby, cricket and some fucked up sport called Netball where women play basketball without the dribbling or backboards (I swear I'm not making this up), but Footy is THE national pastime, and if you're not playing it you better be a computer programmer or a poof-da.
2) The violence. For anyone unfamiliar with the rules of AFL, it's basically that schoolyard game 'Smear the Queer' with 50,000 spectators. Does this make it a game for loutish, sloped-foreheaded cavemen that aren't sophisticated enough to play rugby? You bet, but the results are better than anything HBO's showing about Roman gladiators at the moment.
3) The short shorts. Believe me, there's probably no more homophobic set of people on planet earth than Footy players, but you sure wouldn't know it by looking at their hot pants. Ever since the NBA switched to wearing dresses to help out brothers with no package, AFL football has been there to seperate the men from the Jude Laws.
4) The referees. You will not find a more scared shitless group of officials than you will in Footy. These guys are basically like boxing officials except the fighters are running full tilt for 40 yards before 'accidentally' plowing into them. Plus, they have that cool, semaphore code-looking goal signal.
5) Half the teams come from one city. I still think it's the coolest thing that half the teams in the league are from suburbs of Melbourne. Imagine the most popular sports league in the United States consisting of 8 large cities and 8 districts of Boston. How cool would it be to see Braintree play Quincy for a 'national championship'?
6) The Players. Words like 'meathead' and 'goon' are thrown around a lot in American sports, but you truly haven't seen what those words mean until you watch Footy.
7) The Announcers. "What a Ripppahhh" yelled at microphone shattering volume remains one of the great sports calls of all time.
8) Footy controls Australian Television. Entertainment Tonight, PTI, Sportscenter, and Access Hollywood are all combined into Australian Television's 'The Footy Show'. It's like if The Best Damn Sports Show Period were made required watching by every single American citizen.
9) The St. Kilda Football Club. Just cause it's funny that all their team gear says "St. KFC", which I like to imagine is the patron saint of extra crispy chicken.
10) The Number of High Quality Mullets. Now that it seems as if Hockey stars like Jaromir Jagr and Jeremy Roenick are no longer willing to rock the Schlong, it's nice to see that so many Aussie Rules Football stars are still willing to announce to the world that while it may be business in front, it's still a party in back.
So do yourself a favor and look up the nearest Aussie Rules Final Football party in your neighborhood. You'll be treated to lots of drunken shouting, homophobic abuse and love of hot pants.