So apparently there was an NRL grand final last Sunday night. I didn’t watch it, nor do I know the score. All I do know is that Manly – the maroon coloured jerseys with sea eagles on them – played some other team (I have no idea who) and won.
And a whole lot of people facebooked about it the next day.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had zero interest in watching sport. I don’t follow the swimming. I can’t tell the difference between the different rugby codes. I couldn’t sit through more than five minutes of the Tour de France, not even for the scenery. I could blame my race’s aversion to contact sport for my ignorance, but I’m afraid I have the same attitude towards the tennis (a favourite sport amongst Asians). Nadal who?
Now before you label me some sort of killjoy, I’m not against sport in principle. I saw Invictus. Improving morale, instilling national pride – I’m all for that. I wouldn’t even go as far as Mia Freedman did, when she poured cold water on Cadel Evan’s cycling win by claiming sportspeople aren’t real heroes (though I did think she made a good point). My aversion to sport is far less profound. In short, and I’m getting ready to duck for cover as I write this, I find the whole process boring. Tedious even. I get easily distracted by everything else surrounding the game: the ads emblazoned on the field, the pale fleshed streakers, what Bec Hewitt is wearing on the sidelines.
I’m okay being at odds with most Australians, especially those who pursue sport like it’s their patriotic duty. The only difficulty, though, is marrying into a cricket-loving family. I still remember the shocked expressions the first time I told my in-laws I didn’t understand how runs were scored. My dear husband nearly choked on his beer. So I decided that in the same way one learns how to drink a short black coffee, I’d join in the fun and learn how to at least appreciate cricket. That was four years ago. Since then, I’ve progressed from reading a book during the coverage, to vaguely recognising the players and finally, last summer, actually enjoying watching a Twenty20 match.
Now if I could only remember the difference between running down the wicket and taking someone’s wicket.
Do you struggle to share Australia’s excitement over various sporting events?