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Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Aaron's guest blog!

By Aaron 

When Julie said I was allowed to write a guest post, I felt honored, but also nervous. What should I write about? The overall experience of moving to a new city/country/continent/hemisphere? The challenge of settling into a new job? Driving on the wrong {editor's note OTHER} side of the road? While all good topics, I figured it’d be best to start w/ my area of greatest expertise, sports (aka “sport” here in Australia).

Moving to Australia has meant a big adjustment when it comes to sports. For one, trying to follow the big US sports is challenging due to the time change and lack of coverage here. For example, the Super Bowl started on Monday morning and while the bar across the street from my office had a decent turnout, outside of that most people didn’t know it was happening, let alone care about the results. I think Lady Gaga was more of a draw for Aussies than either of the teams playing.

Games that start in the evening back in the States at least give you a chance of watching live here, assuming they’re on TV (or you have access to a working slingbox back in the US). But early afternoon games in the US are nearly impossible to watch live since they’re happening in the middle of the night in Australia. I love the Wolverines, but I don’t know that I love them enough to wake up every Sunday morning around 3am to watch their football games.

You may think that moving here has been all bad news from a sporting perspective, but the upside has been getting to watch and try to understand a number of new sports. Here are my early observations on the new {editor's note: new to us} sports:

Cricket
  • Aaron’s description: It’s a slower version of baseball (many people may ask: is that possible? Yes, yes it is) with a bowler (pitcher), batsman and a circular field. Some games can last for 5 days. How that is enjoyable for anyone involved is a mystery.
  • Pros: It’s the perfect sport to have on TV in the background because no single activity seems to matter all that much. Also, I like the circular field and the idea that hitting the ball backward (really, deflecting it backward) is a good strategy. 
  • Cons: Did I mention that it’s slower than baseball?
  • Fun Fact #1: If a bowler is able to hit the wickets behind the batsman it’s kind of like a strikeout, but a bigger deal. When this happens and you’re watching on TV, it looks like a strobe light goes off signifying that the wickets were hit. Only recently did I learn that this is only visible on TV and not an actual light that goes off (read this for more). 
  • Fun Fact #2: If the batsman hits the ball over the rope that goes around the field, it’s a six or sixer. If you tell someone who knows cricket that you saw a “six-pointer” they will laugh at you (hypothetically, of course).
Image credit: Cricket ACT

Rugby (note: there are multiple forms of rugby; I have no idea which form I’ve seen so far):
  • Aaron’s description: Kill the carrier for adults. Or American football without the forward pass {editor's note: and sans-helmets, pads or any other protective gear!}. This is a violent sport. People have tried to tell me that American football is worse because the equipment (helmet, pads, etc.) makes people less worried about bad tackles. While there may be some truth to it, rugby doesn’t look any safer. People just ram into each other at full speed with no pads. Ouch.
  • Pros: As someone here said, it’s a “true” 80 minutes of action, so games are pretty quick and the action keeps moving.
  • Cons: A lot of the action involves someone running into the other team for a 3 yard gain. Not so exciting.
  • Fun Fact #1: You literally have to touch the ball down to the ground in the “end zone” in order to score. I’m guessing that this is where the term “touchdown” comes from.
  • Fun Fact #2: Where you touch the ball down matters in terms of where you kick the “extra point” from. The closer to the middle of the end zone, the easier the kick.

Image credit: Rugby.com.au

Australian Football League
  • Aaron’s description: I’ve watched half a game and still have no idea how this sport works. I think it’s some kind of mix of American football and rugby, but honestly, I’m not sure how this works.
  • Pros: I have no idea how this sport works.
  • Cons: I have no idea how this sport works.
  • Fun Fact #1: Anyone who used to watch ESPN in the middle of night may remember seeing Aussie football and the refs making gun shapes with their hands after someone scores. I learned that teenagers here like to run behind the refs after someone scores to yell out “how big’s your dick?” in advance of the refs putting their hands out in what could be construed as an awkward measurement of the size of their manhood. Aussies know how to have fun.
Image credit: SportsTG

This all goes back to what Julie's been writing about -- trying new things, opening our minds to other perspectives and experiencing a new culture. She recently wrote about the things we miss from the US; next she'll write about things we really like in Sydney that should be tried or tested in the US. Cheers, Mate!

4 comments:

  1. Nicely done Aaron. I'm sure the buys will be experts on these new sports in no time. Are they ready to try surfing yet?

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  2. Well done! Hope your editor served you some congratulations 'first post' pie or upside down cake... hmmm is it right side up cake down under?

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