There I was, sitting, watching Australian football, having a couple of pops, hanging out, having fun.
I can't help myself, I like Aussie football. The players look like huge, muscular soccer players; they need to run around pell-mell for long periods but they need to be able to absorb big impacts too. More often than not, some of them are bleeding at any given time. Lots of broken noses in evidence, lots of teeth missing, arms and legs scarred by errant spikes. And a powerful scent of bad attitude: is that all you've got Bruce? My auntie hits harder than you. Pirates looked like this; Viking raiders too. Mongol horsemen too, only shorter. Maybe Attila's boys.
I know that they talk about American football like the rugby players do, "those American boys in all them pads and helmets, bunch of Mommy's boys." I would love to take the Collinsworth Magpies, or the Sydney Swans, or the who-si-whats Bulldogs, give them ten weeks to get ready, and put them in a balls-to-the-wall American football game with the Steelers, that'd wipe the smiles off their faces. All the pads and helmets in the world won't save you when you get hit head on by a six foot four inches tall, two hundred, eighty pound man who can run the forty meters in nine seconds flat and bench press four hundred and fifty pounds. And I'd love to see any two of them try to move one of those plow-boys who play guard or tackle, that mountain's staying right where it is.
But these Australian boys are game, and their game is rough, no doubt. They take quite a beating in their shorts and tank tops. When all is said and done, though, and they retire from their game, I bet they are better off orthopaedically than their American cousins.