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-- 17 April, 2005 --

About Aussie Rules Football


'Arial ping-pong' is the term used by its detractors. The advertisements exhort us to 'come and watch the big men fly'. Both of these descriptions are, in their way, appropriate to Australian Rules Football - this game which is played seriously nowhere else in the world.

Professional players are extraordinary athletes who can run very fast for a very long way and still bounce the elliptical ball every 6 or 7 strides. They are able to leap to extraordinary heights, sometimes using the back or even shoulders of another player as a springboard, to catch the ball on the full, to take a mark and earn a free kick. Those beautiful athletic bodies clad in their short tight shorts and short sleeved jerseys are a delight to watch.

The half-time entertainment is a whole other thing. The champions of the future, from the Auskick development programs, have the opportunity to strut their stuff on the hallowed turf of the professional arenas. Most weeks the pre-teens take their mini-games terribly seriously as they rush back and forward for 15 or 20 minutes until the second half of the main game begins.

At today's game the juniors were a great deal more junior than usual. Tiny little tots, some no more than 6 years old or so, came rushing out onto a football oval that suddenly seemed so much bigger than it had when the big boys were there. The umpires, only a few years older than their charges, were not so much controlling the game but more guiding the littlies to where they should be and what they should be doing. Players stand rooted to the spot, overawed by the situation. There is little flying going on here.

The little chap shown here must have been at the end of the queue when the uniforms were handed out. No tight little shorts here, his jersey reached almost to the top of his crumpled down socks and the sleeves hid all but the tips of his fingers.

But he was having fun!

Posted by robynls at April 17, 2005 8:25 PM

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Oh bless! :-) How on earth did he manage to run in that outfit?!!! Lovely little sketch, really fun.

Posted by: Maggie Wallace at April 17, 2005 9:58 PM

This was a joy to read. The Cute drawing added to the pleasure. Great work.

Posted by: Shelly McC at April 17, 2005 9:59 PM

That was great!
I've never been to the footy. I'm not much of an Aussie I guess! I live in the most football obsessed state (SA is millions of times worse than VIC) so I figure I get my fill of footy by osmosis.

Posted by: Michelle like a mule at April 18, 2005 7:00 PM

Great story, Robyn! You're giving me an education in Australian through your blog ;D! Love the sketch of the little guy!
Laura F.

Posted by: Laura at April 19, 2005 10:46 PM

I'm afraid I might be tempted to watch my first game if I continue reading your blog :)

Posted by: Anonymous at April 27, 2005 1:24 PM

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