Footy — officially known as Australian Rules Football — looks like the bastard love child of ice hockey and ballet. Like a street fight between the Bloods and Crips. It’s as violent as a head on collision and as fast as a politician blaming someone else.
Footy players all dress in shorts and jerseys, so when the team lines up on the field it looks like a basketball team took the wrong door and wandered onto a football field by mistake. Padding and helmets are verboten, reserved for those cream puffs who play in the NFL. Australia may have become sissified in the last couple decades, but its footy players are still as tough as nails. Surely only a rookie can count his concussions and missing teeth on one hand.
Aussies call American football ”gridiron” and complain that it stops more often than rush hour traffic on the 405. Maybe so, but at least the pace of American football gives first time viewers like us time to ask ”What just happened?” and get a detailed answer before the next play. There’s no such luxury in footy because the action never stops. The players are required to have Usain Bolt’s speed and Kip Keino’s endurance. It has been estimated that a footy player runs almost nine miles in a single game.
After a 23-week season and two weeks of playoffs, the two surviving teams play each other in the Grand Final, footy’s version of the Super Bowl.
We watched yesterday’s Grand Final at the home of our friends Daryl and Lisa Mustard. The Sydney Swans played the Geelong Cats. The game was over almost as soon as it began because the Cats immediately began piling up an insurmountable lead. The final score: Geelong 133 – Sydney 52.
And then Daryl started cooking and all was well.