Football. Sigh. It’s big here in Australia. It’s really big. And it’s sacred. It has worshippers who get entirely riled when you fail to acknowledge the sacredness of ‘the’ game. Its fans are devoted to the core. The players are put on pedestals and either worshipped with a sense of quiet awe, or spoken about as if they were a best friend, or a son. Players can be swiftly and brutally crucified if they mismanage their private lives, but unlike famous singers or actors, or even other sports stars in Australia, they are even more swiftly excused and welcomed back to the fold.
In short, it’s a religion.
There are two things about the almighty game of Australian rules football and AFL fans that rile me. One is that the fans cannot see that their resemblance to religious fanatics is more than just fleeting. Are they so starved of any spiritual faith or joy that they pour all of their passion into a game? Who knows? The other thing is they just simply flat out refuse to see that even though women are allowed, nay encouraged, to worship at the altar of the oval pigskin (and those who kick it), that’s all they’re encouraged to do. The female fans provide the estrogen adulation that a boys club of this magnitude naturally requires. Football is everywhere on Australian TV. There are shows dedicated just to AFL gossip; middle aged men talking about young men running around after a ball for hours. They are obsessed with each other, truly obsessed. It’s a cultural phenomenon that quite frankly, fascinates me. So many women I know flick through the TV channels saturated with football, shake their heads and then go and do something else. Don’t get me wrong, inadvertently, it’s a great thing that so many women switch off the TV and go and do something constructive, but do they ever wonder why not even public TV caters to their taste? Are we so used to living in a boys club that we just assume that that’s ok? It looks that way.
Rant over. I’m off to do something constructive. (If any of the Goddesses in the goddess club have a spare few million dollars, can we please start up our own media empire?)