The NFL Grand Final
Manly Travel Blog› entry 20 of 206 › view all entries
Today was the NFL Grand Final. And to decode that for UK people, that's National Football League, or Aussie Rules Football. I was pretty excited about this, I've never seen Aussie Rules though I've heard about it, so it was a good time to watch, especially since the season is now over for 4 months.
We were watching it at Neil's friend's brother's house which is a fantastic pad in Manly. The guy gets a 6 digit bonus every year, so I can only imagine what he earns. Unfortunately I didn't get photos of the place, but take my word for it when I tell you it's gorgeous. Luke had invited about 30 or so people and his girfriend Sue was providing all the other food.
I'm fast learning that I am intimidated by large groups of people. At first I thought it was just a bit down, but although I would settle in at a house party, this isn't several groups of people that don't know each other, they all know each other and not me, so it's harder to get started I've found.
It is a bizarre game that seems to incorporate elements of football, rugby, basketball and volleyball. You can't run more than 10 paces without either bouncing the rugby-shaped ball, or volleying or kicking it to another player. If you kick it to another team player over a distance of more than 15 metres that player can stop the game and take a sort of free-kick. Tackling has to take place between the neck and the waist, and players can scrum in small groups if the ball is on the ground and there is a struggle. The field itself is round, and the goals are 4 giant poles, like rugby, but with two bigger central ones (scoring here scores 6 points), and two outer smaller ones (scoring here is called a 'behind' and scores 1 point - the only game where you score if you miss!).
The teams playing were Geelong, and Port Adelaide. Sarah is a massive Geelong fan, and they hadn't won a final for 44 years. This game will probably go down in history as the biggest landslide victory ever, so it was a great match to see! The quarters are half an hour long and the game was sewed up by half time. Geelong ended up winning by 163 to 44!
I was disappointed by Aussie Rules, it seemed like a bit of a daft game. I don't follow football fanatically, but I do appreciate the skill involved in fancy-footwork, but this game didn't seem be obviously skillful. Sure, I couldn't do better, but there's nothing stylish about scrawny blokes cuddling each other round the waist or looking like they're doing a double-doggy-style in a scrum. Still it kept me busy most of the afternoon.
By 6pm I was feeling pretty done with the bbq, I was feeling a bit alone in a crowd and I wouldn't have said I was hungover exactly (sicked it up the night before, which I don't remember doing! - classy!). But people started heading off themselves and as the group diminished I suddenly felt much easier infiltrating the groups of friends to talk. Would you know it? Neil and I were still heading up the party at 4am after a trip with Luke to the pub to meet another friend Topaz and ended up going back to hers for a few hours to watch Simpsons Movie and play with her mad cat. Topaz's mum raises baby animals and her brother Matty showed me a photo of the latest baby wallaby which is just the cutest thing I've ever seen. He's only a tiny handful! They have offered to take me up to their mum's house next weekend, and I really want to go, but Megha arrives this Friday and we are planning to head off. I might go and see Topaz this week though anyway.
At 3am we left to get Luke home, as he was blind drunk and fiercely allergic to cats. He had kept us very amused though appearing to be so drunk as to not having a clue what was going on. But periodically getting up and delivering a staggering, slurring whirlwind of observations that seemed to make perfect sense and clearly showed he was still right on our wavelength. Very funny. We left him on his sofa (girlfriend wouldn't let him get in bed!) and caught a taxi home.