Saturday, June 28, 2014

On becoming a "sports person"

It is a widely known truth that I am not a sports person.

I don't like watching them, and I certainly don't like playing them. 
Case in point: In elementary school during our baseball unit, I once ran behind the batting cage after hitting the ball instead of running to first base. 
Second case in point: During my time in Houston, I refused to sign up for any sort of "fun" intramural league because the thought of team sports and ultimate failure was too terrifying for me.

My one exception is the San Antonio Spurs because come on, five time NBA champs. 
Did I watch the finals even though they came on mid-day here? Yes.
Did I cry at my desk when we won? Yes.
Did I proceed to read every article and watch every video in the following days and also cry over those? Yes.
Is Patty Mills Australian? Yes.


Then I moved to Melbourne.

People in Melbourne are OBSESSED with AFL [Australian Rules Football/footy]. I mean, Texas A&M football-level obsessed. 
Upon meeting someone new it is customary to ask each other what footy team you support, and the answers could make or break a relationship.

Will supports the Richmond Tigers, which is an unfortunate team to support. As a comparison, it's kind of like supporting the Houston Texans- lovable, yet so tragic. But I am a supportive girlfriend, so I support the Tigers too. 

I've been to a few footy games over the past two years, and must admit they're not awful. 
There's a lot of action and no annoying, constant timeouts [I'm looking at you, football].
The winning team all gathers to sing their club song at the end, which is both weird and endearing. Richmond's is called "Tigerland", and it is not heard enough. Poor tigers.
Plus, the food of choice is a meat pie. Hand me a meat pie and I'll be happy with anything.

Rugby is also wildly popular here. 
Maybe I was just unaware, but I'm pretty sure rugby is not a thing in the US. I mean, I know it exists, but it just isn't a popular sport to keep up with, to my knowledge. But we already know my sports knowledge is limited. 

In my time here, I have watched two rugby games in full [on TV]!
Granted, I watched because the boys in my home had invited friends over for two big games. However, my watching was also rather willing, as I felt it would be a good cultural experience. 
I'd be remiss if I didn't also add that there was food involved.

My assessment of rugby is as follows:
Violent. Impressive. Weird backwards passing. Massive thighs. Fights. Glorious lack of time outs. They  need protective gear.


Now for the real clincher. The thing you will find hard to believe.

I, Alex, hater of playing sports, have started playing a sport.

Netball is a traditional sport for women to play here. Because it definitely doesn't exist in the US, I had ZERO idea what it was upon arrival. 

Will plays on a social, mixed team, so I went  once to observe this curious sport that upon googling, seemed sort of like basketball but with weird robotic stop-start motions.
After watching a game, I was firm in my assessment.

Then, as fate would have it, the team needed extra players.
Guess who was forced into playing?
Guess who looked like an idiot for the first quarter?

As someone who hates confrontation, playing a defensive position was not a good idea for my first foray into an unknown sport.
Will said I looked like a deer in headlights, and I know he is 100% correct.

BUT! Over the next three quarters I started to get more comfortable as I was placed in a position that just involved running and throwing + catching a ball. 
I may not be sporty, but I can do those things! 

I now play every weekend, and remarkably, I really look forward to it!
It's a good chance to hang out with friends and get some exercise while we're at it.

A lack of Pure Barre plus my ability to lick a Nutella jar dry means I am in serious need of activity, and this makes me feel better about the horrible eating/drinking decisions I most certainly made during the weekend.

So there you have it. My sports transformation, thanks to a cross-world move.
Maybe I'm still high on the Spurs victory, or maybe I'm just glad that my Facebook timeline is blessedly free of all things football during the off season, but I'd like to think I'm more sports-tolerant these days.

Ask me again when the US fall rolls around.
At least the TV will be gloriously freeeeeee of any games! Ah, the perk of living in a country where [American] football is not king :)

I'm a bad Texan, I know.


Meg Henning said...

my husband was ALL about the spurs because they are his basketball team even though he isn't from texas, so he was very happy they won!

tricia said...

Football (soccer) is the most popular spectator sport in the UK closely followed by rugby. I am not so keen on footie. I find most of the overpaid football players are histrionic divas. Rugby on the other hand - well I always think that is a real man's game - they just patch up a torn ear & carry on playing. The thighs are quite a draw too. :)
I didn't realise that netball was not played in the US. It is played in schools here (mainly by girls) & popular with adults as a social sport after work as you describe. Glad you have found something you enjoy & it's a great way of making new friends.

Sienna said...

I couldn't imagine myself becoming a sports person but good for you for assimilating! haha

Ashley said...

meat pie and some meaty thighs? I could get on board with some rugby. yes, definitely.

Rod and Alex - aka: "Rolex" said...

Wow! Congrats on your newfound sportiness! :) I don't have a sporty bone in my body...but you give me hope - perhaps I haven't found my sport! :)

Sounds like you're having fun!


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