Sunday, July 27, 2014

Footy and Parrots

Yesterday we finally made it to an Australian Rules Football game, or footy match, as they call it. We walked over to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is on the east side of downtown, about 40 minutes before the start of the game. We managed to get decent seats near one of the goals, but we will definitely arrive sooner to the next game we attend, as general admission seemed to fill up quickly. 

The match was a lot of fun! If I had to compare it to an American sport, I would say it's kind of like football in that you kick the ball through goal posts to earn points-and kind of like rugby in that there are few rules, no helmets and no padding. I can't imagine these guys have very long careers based on what they endure in one game alone! I was surprised by how few injuries there were, though. Only two players had to leave the field prematurely, and both walked off on their own. Impressive! No Lebrons here! Speaking of the field, it's circular. 
It's big, too. I couldn't capture it all from where we were sitting. The game has 4 quarters and there aren't many stoppages in play. The whole thing lasted around 2 and a half hours. The rules were somewhat vague to us, but we figured out the general premise of the game. You can see four goal posts in the picture-the object is to kick the ball through, ideally, the middle section. That counts for 6 points. If you miss the middle and the ball goes through either the left or right zones, it's one point. You can throw and kick the ball to your teammates.  Kicking seems ideal because if your teammate catches it, the opposing team can't tackle him, so it's kind of a free kick to try to make a goal, or to kick it to someone closer without as much interference as if you were throwing. If it's passed from one player to another, the opposing team is free to tackle and steal the ball back. I'm sure it's much more complex than that, but those are the main objectives as far as we could tell. 

The sport is concentrated in and around Melbourne, although some teams have moved to other cities like Sydney.  Last night's match was between Collingwood, a suburb of Melbourne, and Adelaide, a city about 8 hours to the west of Melbourne. It turned out to be a really good game! Adelaide took the early lead and for awhile it looked like it could be a blow-out. However, Collingwood came back and even had the lead for a few minutes, only to be edged out by Adelaide in the end. I don't remember the exact score, but I think it was 80-something to 70-something, to give you an idea of how many total points are scored. I took a few short videos on my
phone but can't figure out how to upload them using the Blogger app. Any ideas?

The game itself was fun, but it was more entertaining for me to watch the fans. For one thing, EVERYONE was really into it. There were tons of kids, adults, and elderly people. I didn't see any teenage girls on their cell phones-they were chanting and waving team flags. There were two women in front of us, they looked like a mother/daughter pair, that didn't talk the entire game because they were watching so intently. I've really never seen such a wide variety of fans equally engaged in a sport. Here are Adelaide fans waving flags after a goal: 

 I didn't snap a picture, but everyone wears their team's scarves to the games. 
 I guess people do that for soccer, too, but I've never seen it in the US. Some of them are kind of cute, so I'll probably pick a team to cheer for based on their colors. Peter wants to pick a team based on boring things like stats and how they play the game :). I'll keep you updated on our footy loyalties.

We walked around the Royal Botanic Gardens on Saturday night just to get some fresh air and saw a pretty large animal run through the park. It looked like a possum but cuter. I obviously wanted a picture, so I tried-and failed-to chase it down. I googled it and I think it was indeed an Australian possum. Here's a picture of one from Google images: 
After failing to catch the possum, we walked around a bit more before heading home. 
The fountain in the garden is blue at night. 
Here's a statue and giant flower clock. I'm sure that's the technical name for it. 

We decided to head back to the gardens on Sunday before the game to see them in the daylight. We hung out on a bench for quite awhile watching the birds and ducks. 
I forced us to take a selfie since I noticed I haven't posted very many photos with actual people in them. 
Here's a magpie- kind of like a crow. Unfortunately, these birds are known for "swooping." I haven't seen it in action yet, but apparently they dive-bomb humans from time to time. I'm sure I'll be able to report on this eventually, because if anyone is going to get "swooped" by an Australian crow, it's me. 
The wildlife highlight was definitely seeing multiple brightly coloured parrots in the trees! 
Peter is back to work today, and I'm currently researching refrigerators. Thrilling, I know. Peter's birthday is this week-so we will be doing something fun to celebrate! More on that later. 

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Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!

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