Like a girl. 

I am a girl. I was born a girl and I identify as a girl. 

Over the weekend there were a couple of notable events in the AFL. 

The first involved Adam Goodes an indigenous spokesperson who made a statement on the weekend which as I’m not indigenous myself, I don’t feel qualified to comment on (except to mention a couple of tweets about how excited their kids got when seeing Adam Goodes seeing their tribal dance on TV which I thought was really cool – every kid should grow up seeing themselves in at least one person on TV.)

The second was Ollie Wines (who plays for my beloved Port Adelaide) making a statement at quarter time saying that “we’re playing like a bunch of girls.”

Firstly I want to say that I’m not offended by this. I don’t wake up on a Sunday morning, read the paper and wonder what to be offended about today. But I am frustrated and pissed off. 

I hear this type of comment way too often to not be annoyed by it. 

BEING A GIRL IS NOT A BAD THING!
And I continue to ponder how is being like a girl an insult?
So why, when watching a game of football does ‘oh you’re playing like a girl’ get said so often. 

Mythbusters has proven that “throw like a girl” has no scientific merit. 

I doubt there is a single category of thing where you could have everyone in the world in a row from best to worst and there would be a distinctive line between men and woman (and this who identify as neither). 

I confronted a male friend about this last weekend and eventually said “if you use being a girl as an insult then we can’t be friends.” 

Because we can’t. If you think that my gender is inferior to yours then no we can’t be friends. That’s a deal breaker to me. 

But interestingly no one had ever called him on it before. No one had ever pointed out that by calling a football players lack of commitment ‘girly’ he was saying that being a girl was somehow worse than being a boy. 

I love being a girl. Sometimes it sucks (eg finding the right hormonal birth control), but you know what? being a girl is awesome. And no worse than being a boy. 

So stop saying ‘girl’ as though it’s an insult or somehow worse than being a boy. Because it’s not. 

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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Stuck In My Head – Vivian Blane (or Prelude to my Ode to AFL)

A week ago I hadn’t even heard of this song.
However a fortunate twitter conversation with @weareaustralia (australia’s curated twitter account) led me down a rabbit hole to find this song.

It tells the charming story of Johnny and Flo who have a regular Sunday outing to go “rowing”.
But best of all, it’s also the song which the Richmond club song is based on (but more on that tomorrow.)

Please compare and contrast the two versions.


And as always, here’s the full ‘Stuck In My Head 2013’ playlist.

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