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This is the most biased article you will ever read

I was recently reading some sporting survey results on the viewing habits of Australian sports fans. I wasn’t at all surprised to find that Australian Rules overwhelming wins the football TV ratings wars. It has also historically always been the most popular when it comes to attendance. Its popularity lays in its indigenous broad appeal. Its appeal to women, its athleticism, intensity, body contact, dazzling skills and an ambiguous set of rules that lead to a hatred of those who officiate.

Of course team rivalry is legendary and this is often enhanced by what would seem to be the most unfair sports scoring system in the world. It is however one that enables your team to achieve victory from a long way behind.

Soccer people would counter that by saying that their game is truly international. And so it is, but in Australia it has struggled to gain a foothold and has suffered many setbacks over a long period. My view has always been that it’s a game that just doesn’t suit the Aussie psyche.

Unlike our Prime Minister we are not a negative bunch and soccer comes over that way. I mean in what other code can a team play better than its opponent and still lose? Or be so inconclusive that a result is determined at the end of the match with a method unrelated to the general play. It is boring, as is the depressing slowness of play. I have always been intrigued by the lack of barracking. The absence of crowd noise. I was listening to a broadcast of a match on the ABC last Sunday and the commentators seemed to be lost for words for something to describe.

And of course we take our Aussie rules seriously but we don’t go to war over it.

Soccer has the largest participation of all the codes which doesn’t surprise me. Mothers like it because it’s less physical. It is of course skilful in its own right but clearly doesn’t match it with Aussie rules.

I was in a conversation with an Englishwomen a couple of years ago who insisted that soccer players spent hours honing their skills. “No doubt they do” I said. I then went on to point out to her that Australian rules players have to be able to kick the ball both short and long distances accurately. And with either foot. They had to be able to catch the ball overhead or on their chest and often with one hand. They also had to be proficient at bouncing an oval ball while running at full pace, and they had to predict where this oval ball might head when it hits the ground. Added to that they also needed to be able to hand ball (more than just a political skill) the ball with either hand. All this needed to be accomplished on a very large playing arena for much longer periods than the other codes. This of course requires a level of anaerobic and aerobic fitness unmatched by the other codes. Sure there are different types of fitness.

Rugby for example requires a lot of strength because they just seem to pick up the ball and run into the next person with all the force they can muster. Both sides seem to be intent on inflicting as much physical pain as possible. The man seems to be the target and the ball seems to have little to do with it. Much of the physical contact is more aptly suited for the boxing ring that a sporting field.
I recall watching a TV program once when a Rugby player was asked how much time was spent practicing the skills. “Not much” he said. “There aren’t many”.

Now there may be nuances, or redeeming features that have escaped me but for the life of me I cannot see the sense in just running headlong into some over developed burly testosterone filled individual just for the sake of it.

Of course from the female point of view (so my wife tells me) the youngsters of Aussie Rules are much more attractive than those of their counterparts. Added to that (again my wife tells me) is that their arses are much more attractive. On the down side she said were the increasing preponderance of beards and “look at me” tatts.

Last year at the MCG I happened to sit next to two very well educated ladies from the USA who were doing research at Melbourne University. It was their third match and they had already attached themselves to the Geelong Cats, which also happened to be my team. They had, in a short space of time become totality devoted. “It has some sort of masculine sexuality associated with it” one of them said to me. They were amazed at how many women attended.

“You wouldn’t get so many women interested in the States” said the other.

Now look I could go on forever about the best game in the world but I had better stop. Well one more thing. A few years ago during a finals win my wife and I went to see Billy Joel at Rod Laver Arena and on the Friday night we went to see Swan Lake at the Concert Hall. Then on the Saturday it was the MCG to see the mighty Cats defeat North Melbourne by a point. The highlight of the week.

Just as an aside. Did you know that as many people attend the arts precinct in Melbourne as the yearly attendance at the MCG? This of course makes it not only the sporting capital of Australia but also the cultural capital.

I only wrote this because I suggested to Michael that the blog could do with a sports writer.

Please note that my bias shall extend to the comments section. I will not be replying to any criticism. If it costs me friends. So be it.

The latest Roy Morgan Research shows that the AFL wins hands down on this front – 7.83 million Australians (41.0%) say they watch the AFL almost always or occasionally on TV, just ahead of Cricket – 7.43 million (38.9%). The nearest local challengers are Tennis – 6.83 million Australians (35.8%), the NRL – 6.73 million (35.3%) and Horse Racing – 6.32 million (33.1%). For a full analysis go here.

Prediction. Cats will win the Grand Final by 30 points.

 

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56 comments

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  1. scotchmistery

    I agree with your wife completely.

    There are some very attractive pairs of shorts.

    🙂

  2. bjkelly1958

    Just what this country needed, my friend, another “unbiased” article about sport…of any kind! 🙂

  3. Louise

    I agree with your wife about the Aussie Rules players looking heaps better, fitter, toned yet not overdone like a body builder. I agree with most of what you say. The only thing you have got wrong is the team!

  4. bobrafto

    I do not see any bias in this article whatsoever, however, I do see some profound insights.

    ” They had, in a short space of time become totality devoted. ‘’It has some sort of masculine sexuality associated with it’’

    Perhaps, the above statement suggest that apart from the so called skills of Rules, most women who watch do so for the sexual titillation of perving at tight fitting shorts and maybe, just maybe, the men who watch are in contact with their feminine side.

    Now if my suggestion that Rules is a voyeur’s sport, and that Sex Sells, this would go a long way to explain the high TV ratings.

    I do not see the parallel between Billy Joel and Rules, but there is a bit of a semblance between Swan Lake and Rules, a rough bit at that.

    Cheers

  5. Pingback: This is the Most Biased Article you Will Ever Read | lmrh5

  6. lmrh5

    Reblogged this on lmrh5.

  7. dafid1

    The rugby you mention was obviously not ‘Union” which is played worldwide with class, finesse, panash unlike the smash and bang of league, where brawn not brains are the pre requisite for success and pain.

  8. Don Winther

    CAAARN THE PIES !!!! The Mighty Magpies

  9. john921fraser

    <

    Well !

    Quite obviously John Lord is not such a sport fanatic after all.

    How could any "Unbiased" article on sport ever leave out the Aussie Rules team songs ?

    Shame JL Shame.

    Please update this Article with a few lines from your teams melody.

  10. Micheal Riseley

    Biased or not, every point made in this article is 100% accurate.

  11. FSM is coming.

    I hate AFL and everything it stands for. Sure, great athletes. But as a sport it lacks, well, everything. Just a bunch of blokes grabbing a ball and kicking the heck out of it. There is no finesse, few skills needed.
    1/ get the ball
    2/ get rid of the ball.
    3/ take the ball up the center.
    4/ if you cant take the ball up the center, go the wings.
    5/ see step 3.

    Ok I’m being a tad ignorant. So i will continue,
    I can wrap up the maturity and mind set of EVERYTHING to do with AFL in two words. ‘Sam Newman’

    Like Gina and Murdoch. AFL has got the top spot through bullying and out-right smothering of any other code.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Ahhhh….. the arrogance of Victorians

    ” Its popularity lays in its indigenous broad appeal.”

    I think you will find many indigenous players in both rugby codes too John. And if you think seeing Warwick Cappa’s balls escaping was a turnon then you are very wrong.

    “they play for much longer periods than the other codes.”

    In fact they play for 80 minutes which is the same as both rugby codes and less than soccer who play 90 minutes. The aerial ping pongers get to have a rest every 20 minutes unlike the other codes.

    “The man seems to be the target and the ball seems to have little to do with it”

    You can’t score any points without the ball. If you ever saw the Ella brothers play rugby you would realise how wrong you are.

    To paraphrase a bumper sticker my husband had

    “I would rather lose at Rugby than win at Aussie Rules.”

  13. Rebecca-sue Smith

    as a woman I have really not been interested in sport, but I did follow cricket as a young teenager even being seen on TV in the rain waiting for play, my ex husband and I met because he had a white streak of zinc over his nose and I asked him if he went to the cricket, he said yes.. and we went to the claytons bay thirteen… bay twelve. we got all the atmosphere without the reputation, I played cricket on the outside oval with them flurted with steve the cop, i genually went there for the atmosphere than the actual game, I have only gone to two footy matches, Minyip verses Nill, and one big match I think collingwood against someone else, the first match I ever saw on TV was the Tied Grand final. my father asleep snoring next to me as it played, I watched the next week and was horrably dissapointed, My current husband is a rugby fan, only thing I like about it was the Tina turner song, but he is gunho about it, between that and the american wresling, I spend quite a bit of time in the bedroom reading. So if I had to choose a game I would say at a womans perspective …. mmmm… I may be biased .. but I think online games is probably the most popular with the youth….

  14. Dan Rowden

    One drop of rain and AFL goes from passably watchable to infinitely boring.

    And if you think seeing Warwick Cappa’s balls escaping was a turnon then you are very wrong.

    Quote of 2014.

  15. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    ” Its popularity lays in its indigenous broad appeal.”

    I think you will find many indigenous players in both rugby codes too John.

    I’m not sure if that’s the point John was intending to make. If it is, he’s got a problem. To get an idea of the numbers, try this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indigenous_Australian_sportspeople

    I know it’s Wiki but looks about right to me.

  16. Dan Rowden

    That’s true. An unexpected fist to the back of the head can be a little disconcerting. Always entirely accidental, naturally.

  17. Booboo

    A spell-check it seems, as usual, is far too much to ask for from the AIMN. Very disappointing, as I want to share your articles but I don’t want to look like an idiot myself.

  18. Don Winther

    Hi Kaye Lee, I think John was just trying to lighting up the site for a minute, a moment without that Abbott and Hockey puck………. I’m sick of them !! But we citizens have a job to do.
    Is “indigenous” only a description for Aboriginal Australians?
    Enjoyed you bias but you do follow the wrong team.

  19. dafid1

    Your husband is a very wise man KayeLee…any sport that has an International theme titled ‘The World in Union” is indeed the ‘Game made in Heaven”

  20. Dan Rowden

    Booboo,

    I presume you mean grammar check as there are no spelling errors in the article. The grammar errors that do exist are really quite minor. I didn’t notice them and I’m a serious word Nazi, so your post appears to be a tad petty.

    The problem with the article is that its premise is stupid. AFL is innately silly. Every League supporter knows that.

  21. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    Yes you are probably right about the Indigenous comment. I suppose John meant indigenous as in our national sport….I just can’t go there. Interesting list, thanks.

  22. Dan Rowden

    Funny description of a scrum. Let’s not even start on rucks and mauls …

  23. Kaye Lee

    John,

    Yes, I typed too quickly without considering the actual meaning of indigenous. Still a silly game 😉

  24. randalstella

    Warwick CappER.
    If that fellow remains your image of Aussie Rules culture, no wonder your opinion is slanted.
    What is 25 minutes x 4 Kaye? It is nearly always 25+ minutes per quarter; frequently 30+.
    5 minutes break between quarters, and 20 minutes at half-time.
    Aerobic fitness is prodigious. No international standard soccer player would last 10 minutes in the AFL – even if he avoided being hit.
    When it’s wet is when Aussie Rules is at its best, as the best ball handlers come into their own.
    The levels of skill and fitness these days are a universe on from even a generation ago. I am not sure that the game is as regularly exciting, because man-on-man contests are reduced by modern coaching techniques,and foot-passing skills are so reliable.
    Set shots for goal are less a priority; and accuracy has not kept up with other advances in skill.
    Hits behind play, sniping a player who has his eyes on the ball, are far less common under the modern emphasis in the application of rules. The game is safer from the thug. (Collingwood would not have been able to get away with their successful ‘tactics’ against Melbourne in the 1958 Grand Final.)
    If you do not have speed these days, try another sport.
    Humans are much bigger, by generations. In the 1960s a 6 feet 3 inch player could play ruck. These days he’d be a medium-sized running mid-fielder – if fast enough to keep up.

  25. Dan Rowden

    I do like it, though, that if a kick is out by a mere 50mm is can mean the difference between 6 and 1 point, or none at all. No wonder so many full-forwards looks chronically constipated.

  26. Shane Johnson

    one of its attractions is that it is an Omni directional game. for the player pain can come from anywhere and this requires enormous courage and skill.

  27. johnlord2013

    Indigenous . As in originating in Australia.

  28. Kaye Lee

    randalstella,

    “In the AFL, each quarter runs for 20 minutes excluding “stoppage time” (also known as “time on”).”

    Is this incorrect? Does “stoppage time” mean the game has stopped for some reason, implying even more frequent rests?

  29. Shane Johnson

    it is also so much better watched live where the little battles can be seen to fit into the big picture. the small screen diminishes this.
    it was a game where a vast range of body types could excel. this is becoming less so.

  30. Michael Taylor

    Booboo, John is a Geelong supporter. In that sense he is not expected to be a wordsmith. Actually, he is the only Geelong supporter I have ever met who knows how to write.

    Incidentally, when I typed in your name, the auto-correct on my iPad replaced it with Boohoo. Seems fair.

  31. Michael Taylor

    Dan, I once heard a fitting description of rugby: one bloke trying to push two blokes up three bloke’s arse.

    Perfect.

  32. Roswell

    I too like Aussie rules, however I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by the way the game is officiated. There are not only too many rules, but too many different interpretations of those rules. One umpire might see things this way, whereas another my see things a different way. Maybe the game has too many umpires. Their performance is certainly ruining the game as a spectacle and I admit that each year my love for the game wanes just a little bit more because of them.

    I’m also frustrated at the constant changes to the rules. Tim Lane – a great commentator – noted that if it’s already the greatest game in the world, then why the need to keep changing it. It is a fair point.

    Anyway, enough of my beef.

    Geelong won’t even make the Grand Final.

  33. David Somerville

    In footy how is it that getting the ball between the centre posts scores 6 points, with 1 point for the “behinds”….but hitting the post, which demands a HIGHER degree of accuracy only scores 1 point, surely it’s worth at least 3 points? also why does running the ball through your own posts carries a penalty of only 1 point…..surely that’s not courageous attacking footy..it should carry a 3 point penalty to eliminate this “cowards” way out!

  34. Don Winther

    I remember sitting in a London Pub years ago and watching an AFL grandfinal, bit like seeing a Qantas plane in the tarmac in LA. Australia is home. The good old days when we used to own an airline, Aussie rule and Holden cars. How is Tony going to destroy the AFL …….

  35. randalstella

    Kaye,
    Most quarters in the AFL go at least 25 minutes;and 30 minutes is quite common.
    Yes, they do ‘stop’ to throw the ball in from over the boundary; and for bounces when a pack has log-jammed play; and for other incidental things such as an injured player in the midst of play… Time can be stopped for most of these. That is,time is added on. That’s why 25-30 minutes is the usual length of a quarter.
    It does not mean they are having a cup of tea. Even if the clock keeps running, it’s bit like a professional boxing contest; 3 minute rounds, but they don’t just count when punches are being thrown.
    90 minutes of soccer has very little time added for the very many breaks in play.
    If you use sheer duration to rank sports on how gruelling they are, dressage must be up there;lawn bowls, croquet,chess…The winner might be golf. Most of these sports do not have breaks.
    It’s the intensity and type of action which matters in any comparison; of course.

    Now, if you do not know these basic things about the game of AFL, how is that you seem to have such a firm view ? I don’t know if it is reassuring to find YOU practising uninformed prejudice. I guess its good old human nature; that we’re all stuck with.
    If you question the effort and competitiveness needed to play AFL – look up ex-rugby league star Karmichael Hunt. For big dollars he was lured to AFL 3 years ago; and found the going very tough; not just learning skills, but the physical demands.( He’s stuck at it, and if he’s free of injury could be a handy player.)

    Small matter sport,if it did not mean that the political sense at large is so distracted; so uninformed, so prone to counter-factual campaigns of mere invective. Small matter if people did not treat supporting political parties like barracking for a football team.
    Sport: enemy alien Rupert Murdoch’s gravy train;funding his gangster rags.

  36. Kaye Lee

    randalstella,

    I assumed from the title that John’s post was, in part, tongue in cheek. Mine certainly was. Apparently you mistook my attempt at banter as ” practising uninformed prejudice”. I think that’s a tad over the top.

  37. bobrafto

    Hideous and the most boring game in the world made for pussies it maybe, but Trannies? now that’s going over the top.

  38. Pip

    Go Crows!! :]

  39. gina Ryan

    I’m a Fremantle dockers fan for reasons of support against Eastern states teams and then eagles if dockers are out. . But I am not a fan per say of Aussie Rules
    1) you cannot call it football as it is more like netball on a big scale
    2) it’s like a comedy sport. The players look like pretty trannies and the rules are rediculous. And the scoring into three goal areas. Where is the skill in that?I’m getting nauseous already.
    3) a player catches the ball and everything stands still with etiquette at a dinner table.
    4) using hands and feet I mean what sort of skill is that?
    The game is a waste of space and time
    Sorry, quiet frankly nothing but boring boring a hole in all my orifaces
    That’s my take and I’m sticking to it.
    Give me rugby union or soccer anytime.

  40. Shane Johnson

    One of the tragedies of the uber-ness of Murdoch and Fox is that Sporting Pulse which has the results/ladders of community sport online has been taken over. It is now Fox Sports Pulse.

  41. little guy

    What aload of crap , I dont remember a massive pay tv war for arial ping pong,rugby league is the greatest game of all,not one of those sissys from arial ping pong could handle a true mans game,

  42. Billy moir

    Hate to disagree but soccer is the most artistic game invented for the acting is embarrassingly good, the men in charge have peeping whistles, amazing hand movements and well honed skills of pointing. Although I have been unable to stay awake for a match, I am led to believe the crowds sing in tune.

  43. Billy moir

    Funny little guy, run, throw and fall over used to be a man’s game but the front row is no longer a pack the hooker is not allowed to hook and raking is reserved for the sand pit after the match games. When they tackle each other the steroids shake.

  44. randalstella

    Gee whiz Kaye,
    Your humour eluded me. It still does.
    I don’t do banter. An unreliable method. I use ‘unreliable’ euphemistically.
    I would offer a reassuring compliment at this stage, but it might be taken for ‘banter’.

    The gist of my post was in the last few lines; something so rarely broached on ‘political’ sites.
    Sport as the substitute for political reality. It is the fixed, national stupifier. The waste of passion. The modelling of enmities. The home of reaction.

  45. little guy

    You are right Billy Moir,,the youth of today have no grit,determination or team skills ,more interested in tattoos,social media and body image, that should suit them to showpony games like arial ping pong and the truly boring game of soccer

  46. John Lord

    So far I think I have escaped relatively unscathed. Bloody hammy is giving me a bit of strife though.

  47. FryaDuck

    When I was serving in the RAAF I was posted to Melbourne but I was warned of the strange nature of Mexicans. Footy mad syndrome it’s called. Being from Sydney I knew the Mexicans also had a chip on their shoulder something about NSW vs Mexico but it doesn’t matter to people from NSW, quite irrelevant.

    The first question I was asked was, “Who do you barrack for?” I responded “Buffalo Sabres”. Of course they were confused, I added that it was an Ice Hockey team. “Ooooh thats a tough game”, I replied “Yes, you have to be able to skate forwards, backwards, turn and stop, then deliver a very small black puck into a goal that has an elephant sitting in front of it at high speed”.

    They asked me if there was a team in Melbourne. I said “Yes, last time I played for NSW we thrashed them 40-0. Which wasn’t as good as the previous year which was 60-0.”

  48. bobrafto

    Fryaduck

    To me and my mates, south of the border means NSW & Victoria, so that makes you a Mexican as well!

    Really, you have to take my word on this, incredible as it may sound, it has been 8 years of joy having our State of origin team thrash your blues and this year it will be 9 years straight.

    However the most exquisite joy of all is listening to the bleating, whining, and whinging of the NSW commentariat after every loss.

    Go the maroons and the Broncos. Yee ha!

  49. Stephen Tardrew

    Love me Aussie rules. No prejudice against other codes though prefer union. Grew up in Adelaide going to the footy with my dad. Now in Queensland and back the Lions. Just can’t get enough. Hate the off season.

  50. Michael Taylor

    Pip, that was blasphemy.

  51. FryaDuck

    @bobrafto, actually back then QLD didn’t rate anything because you had Sir Joh.

    I win.

  52. bobrafto

    And we still don’t rate anything because we now have CanDo Fraud Newman, you win again. Well done!

  53. Auricle

    @Dan Rowden: in other games, if a kick is out by a mere 50mm can mean the difference between scoring and not scoring. Is there any other game where, poor baby, if you don’t make a goal you get a consolation prize?

  54. Australian Football

    AFL ONLY HUGE CROWDS IN MELBOURNE:- But many more Australia’s are registered playing football compared with Aussie Rules – Dont forget only in the last 10 years or less Melbourne did not have serious KICKBALL codes now there is Union Melbourne Rebels, League Melbourne Storm and Football teams Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart – AFL numbers are declining. There was a time Melbourne only had Aussie Rules/AFL as a major weekend sporting event till recently. People seem to like watching players get bashed in the head (concussed) and on field brawls like in AFL Aussie Rules nearly every weekend shown on TV sports reports Aussie Rules is more similar to Rugby and not football.

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