I am a dedicated fan of Aussie Rules Football. It is something that I have grown up with. My upbringing is so ingrained with Aussie Rules that it almost seems to be a part of my personality (and I'm sure that many people would attest to that fact).
There are few other sports that interest me and there are many others that I look down on with disdain and contempt.
One of those sports is Rugby League.
I have never understood the attraction of this sport that seems to me to be so two dimensional. The two lines of men running at each other with the constant repetition did not create any drama or tension for me. Instead of trying to embrace it, I actively railed against it. Being a Victorian transplant, stuck in the middle of NSW/ACT, my love of Aussie Rules and disdain for Rugby League became like a badge for me. It was a constant reminder that no matter how much time went by, I would never fully integrate.
This all left me in an awkward position when I was asked by a friend at work to attend a Rugby League game.
I really didn't want to go.
However, I also knew that as this was something I had never tried before, it was a new experience I shouldn't be passing up.
I agreed to go.
On a Monday night (yes, a MONDAY NIGHT) after work, we all set off on the train to the middle of Sydney to watch the Canterbury Bulldogs play the Cronulla Sharks.
I couldn't help but compare it to the enormous crowds I was used to seeing at the Aussie Rules games. Still, the atmosphere was good.
What definitely surprised me was that I enjoyed myself. It was impressive to watch the spectacle of the game and to hear the noise of the tackling. It was very clear from the sound that these were by no means painless encounters.