My Ode to AFL

For my lovely blog readers who are not from Australia, you may be wondering what on earth that video I posted yesterday was all about. Or what are the events leading up to a group of burly gentlemen standing in a circle singing (I use that term loosely) an old show tune and throwing around powerade.

Allow me to explain a few things about a sport I love, Australian Rules Football.

Apart from being one of the greatest sporting codes in the world (cricket is a close second, nearly equal first), it has it’s own set of quirks which I think make it pretty special, which aren’t found in a lot of other sports.

The Banner
Slogans are chosen and thought up, and each week the cheer squad will craft together a banner from sticky tape and crepe paper.
Then all of that hard work is promptly destroyed by the players running through it before the game.
Last year I was part of the crew to hold up the banner which was really awesome, but it’s a pretty strange tradition.
Here’s a video celebrating a players 100 games achievement.

The Crowd
With the record crowd numbers up at the 100 thousand marks, the crowds can be deafening.
But we don’t have set cheers, or songs to chant.
The only thing close to a coherent cheer is when the crowd come together to yell “ball!!” in an attempt to convince the umpire to pay a ‘holding the ball’ free kick.

This phenomenon even happens in pubs where yelling is very unlikely to influence an umpires decision, but we like to think we can try.

We also yell out players names like “Breust” and “Dew” so it sounds like we’re booing our own team.

The Point For Trying
You get six points for kicking the ball through the two big sticks, and 1 point if you hit the post or get it through the shorter sticks.

If we gave out points for difficulty, some of these would be more than 6 points.

The Human Step Ladder

When you don’t have quite enough players to go out and play a full game, it usually turns into step ladder practice or ‘king of the pack’, where one person kicks the ball to everyone else and they all try to catch it.
Kind of like the bouquet toss at a wedding.

Invariably someone will try and emulate the boys on TV and try and use a smaller kid as a step ladder.
The video explains the high flying mark, and why Mum’s everywhere don’t want their kids playing AFL.

The Song
After the burly gentlemen have run through crepe paper, had the crowd pretend to be expert umpires, been given points for trying, and used each other as step ladders, one team wins and one team loses. (Except if it’s a drawn grand final when we come back and play the following week. Seriously that happened once.)
After one team wins they all stand in a circle and sing a song. (See yesterday’s post.)
Each club has a song, and which songs are good and bad is a subject best left for Internet comment sections and arguments with strangers in pubs.
I (unsurprisingly) love my team’s song. I think it’s perfect for pub singing and fist pumping.

These are just some of the reasons I love Australia’s game. I plan social engagements around football games, will share a football opinion with anyone who listens, and I will judge you on what your football team is.

And just in case you think that this all sounds a bit namby pamby, I’ll leave you with a video which demonstrates just how tough these guys are (and without any padding, shin guards, or even cups!)

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blogging for confidence

Allow me to be all introspective for a post. I was doing my usual blog reading / blog discover this morning and I kept stumbling across similar themes. Blogging for confidence particularly struck a nerve. Since this blog has just turned 1 (happy blogday to me!) it was a topic that I wanted to explore and write about.

I have always been the shy girl. The girl in the corner who dressed a little bit differently and thought about different things.
The girl who felt like Daria except not as smart. The loner in the corner of the library.
The girl who dressed in all black and read Anne Rice novels, when no one else was reading about vampires.
I wore headphones as shoelaces and got in trouble for wearing (fake) doc martins instead of school shoes.
I’ve had pink hair, purple hair, green, blue, and even tried polka-dots once. I’ve gone from a shaved head to nipple length hair and every style in between.
I always preferred to set myself apart. In my own head it was easier to accept that people didn’t like me because I wore too much eyeliner than they just plain didn’t like me.
I have struggled with my mental health. There have been some terrifying lows which I shall never forget.
High School was not easy.

It made my stronger, but I constantly look back and wonder why I had such a hard time.
Therapy helped.
But what has really helped is blogging.

Writing about things helps me stay on track. It helps me be a “proper grown up”.

It helps me get some perspective and some purpose.
There’s a strength I get from blogging.
It gets me out of the house. It gets me looking at the world in different ways.
I appreciate the beauty of things more.

If I was left to my own devices I could quite contently never achieve anything. I could sleep for days, never communicating, never seeing sunlight, living in my own little world with no one to bother me.
But that’s not good for me. I’m sometimes not the best company for myself.
So blogging, even if it’s just what I ate, what I wore, what I knitted, what I listened to, it makes me think about what I’m doing.

It makes me live.
And I’m very grateful for that.

This is why I blog.
Blogging has definitely got me out of my comfort zone, doing things that I never would have done before.
Hell, it turned me into a knitter.
I guess that’s why I relate so much to this challenge. Because I know how much blogging has helped me.

I may just try one or two of these challenges.

Dianne Brill – an inspiration.

My best friend growing up and I used to spend hours at the local library.

I was always an avid reader and would go to the library on my first day of school holidays, take an hour or so deciding how to best use up my 10 book allowance, and then beg my mum to take me back 2 days later when I had finished reading them all.

I loved Enid Blyton, Judy Blume, Ann M Martin, Lucy M Montgomery, all the books you’d expect a young girl exploring adolescence to read.
Always novels, and all about growing up, finding friendship, and exploring the world.

It was never non-fiction. It never really interested me. I would learn things at school and when I got home I wanted to escape into worlds which were better. There wasn’t much to imagine in non-fiction.

When I was 11 and about to hit puberty I found a book left on my bed. That was it. That was the birds and the bees talk. The reassurance that everything was changing but was going to be OK. Like most everything else in life, I was going to learn it from a book.
I don’t even remember what book it was, I only remembered that it was slightly scary and hilarious and not at all like Dolly or Girlfriend magazine.

So the next time my best friend and I were at the library, we thought that we’d look up similar books. If my twelve year old’s memory is correct there was a whole section on Women’s Self Help (which seems slightly unlikely nowadays but vaguely possible that the Dewey Decimal system would allow such sexist language).

And we found this book, “Boobs, Boys, & High Heels”. The title was naughty enough to get the interest of two 11 year old girls and it had a bright pink cover.
Win!
It was a how to guide on attracting GGs (Gorgeous Guys), walking in HH (High Heels), and most importantly how to get dressed in just under 6 hours.

We borrowed this so many times by the time we were teenagers (and still borrowing it well into our late teens) the pages were dog eared from reading it so many times.

Years later and I always had this vague recollection of some of the tips, tricks, and Brill-isms that had permeated my teenage years.

Eventually I tracked it down on Amazon, and after paying too much for it and amidst all the scathing reviews, I bought a copy to call my own.

I sat down and read it cover to cover. And it made a lot of things very clear.
For its frivolous subject matter it was influential in shaping so many things.
My writing style, my love of shoes, my reluctance to never buy yellow lingerie,

But the message that it sung the loudest was self-acceptance.
Whatever size you were (it has diet tips for slimming down and slimming up), whatever lingerie/shoes/boob you wore, whether you had a GGor not, it didn’t matter.
It said that you were ok.
You could be a Brill Babe because you were awesome.

I’m still often curious as to whether or not anyone else used to read it, or even if it’s still at the library.
But it influenced two little 11 year old girls to be themselves through an awkward and confusing time.

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