Friday, January 13, 2006

Aussie Rules Footy in LA? Of course!

For those of you who don't know, I'm an Australian who is currently living in Washington, DC. Over here I play Australian Rules Football (one of the major sports in Australia) for the Baltimore Washington Eagles. This is the sport that has brought to the NFL such legends as Darren Bennett (former punter for the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings), and Ben Graham (1st year punter for the New York Jets). OK, so that really really doesn't tell you much (and potentially makes the sport sound lame), but stay with me. Bennett was a really good punter who actually tackled people. Both Bennett and Graham were famous in Aussie Rules for being able to kick the ball a mile, and when they started to get too old to play in Australia they decided to have a shot at the NFL as a punter.

Too old? Well, yeah. You may have caught some Aussie Rules on TV, maybe on some weird channel at some strange time of day. I'm not going to try and explain the game here (though you can check out the Wikipedia entry for the sport). But yes, there is a lot of tackling, and no we don't wear pads, though most do wear a mouthguard. Dangerous? Well, the worst injury I've ever had was a broken eye socket, and I once fractured a guy's face requiring titanium plates to be inserted... but those are freak injuries, and you could suffer worse from trying to cross the road. It's a great game, and over here I get to play with a bunch of good Aussies and Americans, and travel to different cities to play games. Every year there is a national tournament. 2004 was in Atlanta, last year was in Milwaukee, and the rumour is that this year it will be held in... LAS VEGAS! This probably means I am going to be playing games on no sleep after donking off chips to tourists all night on a poker table somewhere.

Wow, just found www.nflaussie.com, a site brought to you by Darren Bennett that doesn't look like it has been updated in a while. Scary.

Anyway, if you want more info about Aussie Rules in the US, go to the US Footy website.

This weekend I'm off to LA to watch two Aussie pro teams play an exhibition match as part of Australia Week, which means no poker for me in all probability. The Sydney Swans, reigning champions, are playing the Kangaroos (the Kangaroos used to be called the North Melbourne Kangaroos, but are trying to branch out of that region) at UCLA. I'm also meant to be attending a coaching clinic with the two coaches of the teams, which should be cool. Not to mention going out in LA, a city I haven't been to in years, when I was under the legal drinking age. I also hope to meet up with a friend of mine who I haven't seen in a long time. It looks like tickets to the game are sold out, but if you're are in the LA area and want to know if there is anything to check out, go to the Australia week website.

Hell, as long as they have meat pies and VB at the game I'll be fine.

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