Footy Fever in Melbourne – my perspective

Australian Football League. Australian Rules. Footy. Before I start, let me say that before I got here, I knew nothing about the game except that a friend asked us to bring him back an Australian Rules football — he plays on a league in Milwaukee! I still don’t much but it’s been impossible to avoid a bit of “footy fever” over the past two weeks. Frank and I watched the semi-finals last weekend to learn a little about the game.

This week, the sidewalks and trams were filled with hundreds of fans sporting scarves with the finalists’ team colors – brown and gold for the Hawthorne (Tasmania) Hawks and red and white (Badger colors!) for the Sydney Swans. Today was the AFL Grand Final or the Australian Super Bowl. The game is held each year at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, which holds over 100,000 people! For those who don’t know, Australian Rules is kind of a mix between rugby and football. The players wear tight little shorts with no protective gear, the field is huge, the game high-scoring and each team has 18 players on the field at a time. Frank loves that the game is void of video replays and that it keeps moving — when a player is injured, they play around him! I’m sure that’s pretty simplistic for AFL purists but what do you want from someone who makes the game secondary to the color and excitement of the fans?

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