The Great Australian Game

 

If you follow any Australian’s on social media, you’ll probably see mentions of ‘footy’, ‘Aussie Rules’, ‘speccies’ and a host of other foreign words. They’re talking about football, Australian Rules football and… well a speccie’s a speccie but we’ll talk more of that shortly! Here’s a quick run down of the sport which is a lot different to any other contact sport with a ball!

You never know, one day you might find yourself visiting Australia during footy season and may wish to partake in this traditional local custom, whether it be watching the game at a pub (relaxed bar) with a mob (group) of sport enthusiasts over pints of beer, or if you’re really lucky, you can head to a game to experience the electric atmosphere of this great sport of aerial ping-pong.

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A perfect weekend involves beer + pub + footy, if you can’t get to a game

The game was first codified in Victoria in 1859, so it is actually one of the oldest sports of the modern era. It is commonly thought that Australian Rules is an offshoot of Gaelic Football, but while there are similarities, Gaelic football was codified 30 years after the Australian game. More likely is that the sport was influenced by the indigenous game of Marn Grook which involved large teams over an even larger playing area, kicking a stuffed, possum skin ball and punt kicking it to other players. There weren’t many rules in the game but individual players who exhibited outstanding skills such as leaping high over others, were celebrated and this is probably the skill which eventually turned into the ‘mark’ in Australian Rules. This is where a player catches the ball from a kick where the ball otherwise hasn’t been interfered with by other players. Sometimes the player will launch themselves from another players back to gain extra height and if they complete the mark, without dropping the ball, this is known as a speccie (from spectacular).

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Example of a speccy (high-skill, high-altitude mark)

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Kimonos in Kyoto

A brief glance through the car window, but I saw her, glistening black hair meticulously styled, a pale white oval face of porcelain skin with a hint of pink on the cheeks, eyes lined with black kohl framed by eyebrows shaped into perfect crescent moons and her lips, small, dainty and painted red.
She was sitting in the back of a black taxi cocooned in luxurious and very expensive hand-woven silk. For the briefest moment I saw a creature of fantasy, a woman of the night paid for her company, often the centre of attention in a group of Japan’s most powerful and wealthy business men.
Her night had just begun but she would be profit many times into the early morning for her services, entertaining clients with the skills she has perfected and been trained for. Continue reading