So, in switching from Satellite to internet television, I’ve found myself getting all of my non-baseball sports via ESPN3 on my Xbox360. ESPN3 is funny because the sports on offer are somewhat…eclectic. You’ve got your occasional baseball, basketball, etc…but it’s the other stuff that’s really intriguing. Or in one case, addictive.
I have discovered a new passion, and that passion is a combination of soccer, rugby, a few dashes of American style football (the one not generally played, you know, with the foot), a few more dashes of American style basketball (no, I’m not kidding), and several very liberal doses of a game we played in high school called “smear the queer” (apologies for the politically incorrect name). I remember a few years ago there was a sports commercial that implied that US Football players were the roughest-toughest-most manly athletes in the whole world. That, was a LIE.
The men who play Australian Rules Football are, without a doubt, the most bad-ass mofos on planet earth. We’re talking the Seal Team VI of professional athletes. These guys play a more-than-full contact sport wearing only short-shorts, a tight tee-shirt, compression shorts (optional), rubber turf cleats, and a mouthguard (also, strangely optional). No body armor, no thigh pads, no shin guards, and for the love of all that is holy, NO HELMETS! I honestly expect at some point for the testosterone levels to get so high, the players will just strip down greco-roman style and paint their bodies in different colors of woad. Believe me, the current kit doesn’t offer any superior protection over the “warrior aura” of the gladiators and combatants of ancient times.
I’ll give the AFL (that’s the Australian Football League) one thing, they’ve got a very approachable sport. I’m pretty sure I’ve basically worked out the rules after watching less than a half-dozen games; and honestly, who can say that about the US counterpart? I’ll try to describe the general gist of an AFL match from an untrained american perspective, and if any real-life footy fans happen by and want to correct anything here, please drop a comment. I’ll correct as necessary.