Monday, October 01, 2007

Thank Christ football season is over

I'm really not into sport. Not even enough to spend much time saying how much I hate it. Mostly because I don't actually hate it. It doesn't have that big an influence on my life, it's more a case of... meh.

Not being into sport renders you instantly weird in Australia. And by weird I mean "obviously a poofter." Add that to the fact I don't drink beer, I speak more eloquently than average and I enjoy the company of women... well... There was only one conclusion to be drawn in the sort of places where I grew up. The fact that my best friend at school turned out to actually be gay is a source of some mirth to me considering the number of fights I got into declaring "We are NOT gay!"

Which is all slightly divergent from where I intended to go.

The two major football codes in Australia (Rugby League and Australian Rules) both finished their seasons over the weekend. Both are nominally national codes but Rugby League is big in New South Wales and Queensland while Australian Rules is big in Victoria (where I currently reside), South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The disturbing news for me is that both Grand Finals were won by Melbourne teams. This means the self-congratulatory braying is going to continue for a while longer even though the games are mercifully finished.

Australian Rules football is treated like a religion in Melbourne, so not being interested in it is not widely held to be an acceptable option. When someone asks what team you support, you're expected to answer with a team name, not "Who gives a fuck?" If there's one upside to people's obsessions with the football finals, it's being able to mess with their heads.

Today, every second person has been asking me "how did you go on the weekend?" In case you are not familiar with sporting fan vernacular, they are not actually asking me how I was on the weekend. They are asking me if I supported the winning teams. Because apparently they all have some hybrid of symbiosis with and ownership of a bunch of sportsmen they've never fucking met.

I've been enjoying myself by responding with a blank look, then, after a pause, saying "Was there a football game on the weekend?" Cognitive dissonance is a funny thing to watch in action.

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