Australians and Sport: It’s a Serious Business!

Last Saturday morning my young daughter, Elizabeth, played her first competitive team sport, netball. She really loved it and throughout the game the girls rotated positions.

In the 12 minutes Elizabeth played as an attacker, she scored two goals. Or are they called nets or something?

She is already looking forward to next week’s game.

Sport is a very serious business here in Australia, and many parents end up spending the vast majority of their weekends driving their kids to football matches, rugby matches, netball, hockey, tennis, gymnastics, swimming and all sorts of sporting activities.

It can be quite exhausting for us oldies, and we’re just watching!

The difference between Australia and the UK

(And the story of the closest I’ve ever come to winning anything in football.)

It seems to me that the way sports are organised here in Australia is totally different from how it was back in the UK.

You may already be aware that I love playing football (round ball, some of you may refer to it as soccer) and that I used to play regularly when I lived in England.

I didn’t only play; I ran two squads; one for Thursday evenings and one for Sundays. Running it simply meant I collected the money to pay for the sports hall, made sure enough of us turned up and then helped pick the sides.

We’d then play for an hour, someone would win, someone would lose, and we go to the pub.

End of.

Contrast that with here.

  • We went to a sports hall and said we wanted to play.
  • We needed a name for our team, we chose Hardly Athletic.
  • We had to buy some team kit.
  • We then entered a league run by the sports hall.
  • After five preliminary games, we were placed in the correct division for our level.
  • There were seven teams in our division.

As you can see from this league table, we didn’t do bad, we finished third.

TableThe team who won it, Cobras, won every single game, they didn’t even get held to a draw. Well, every game except one.

When they played us….

Cobras vs Hardley AthleticThen at the end of the season, the teams that finished in the top four play each other in a semi-final and then the final. The team that comes top plays the team that ended up third whilst second-place plays fourth.

So we were playing the Cobras again…

semisAnd we beat them again!

So we made the final, and played Superteam. Probably the closest game I’ve ever been in. Halfway through the second half they scored the first goal of the game, 3 minutes later we equalised.

With just 35 seconds to go, Superteam grabbed the winner.

So we ended up with the runner-up glasses. But not bad for a bunch of old fogeys.

CupNow, did you notice how, in telling this story, I could illustrate it with printed tables and results? I could do this because each week the results appear on the sports halls website.

Here, for example, are all of our results for the season…

All our resultsNot only that, but during the game, behind the goal is a computerised television. When a goal is scored, the referee clicks a button on his remote and the score is updated.

It’s a poor photograph, but I’ve circled the score screen in red…..

match scoreOver by the reception in the sports hall, there is another television which scrolls through all the scores from all the games that evening. Here’s another poor photograph…

scoresAnd if I am not mistaken, all these computerised screens automatically link to the website and update the scores online and the league tables. Now that’s a far cry from me and a few mates picking sides in an otherwise deserted school sports hall back in England.

I told you, Australians take their sports seriously.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • BobinOz March 30, 2012, 9:24 pm | Link

    Correct! Yes, I live in Brisbane. Hope you make it out here one day soon.

    • Derinda March 30, 2012, 10:44 pm | Link

      We will. It’s one of our two major goals! I love your blog, by the way.

  • Derinda March 30, 2012, 2:58 pm | Link

    Based on your photos (although probably actually said) you live in Brisbane? That’s where we are hoping to go! But in all honesty we will go where he can find a job!

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