Taking our oval-shaped ball and going home

October 25: The source of some discussion in our house – the ‘International Rules‘ Series between Ireland and Australia – has ended with Ireland in posession of the trophy. Let the gloating begin, Ivan.
It’s a hybrid (read: mutant) game which is never played anywhere in the world aside from this competition; a strange combination of Aussie Rules and Gaelic Football. I don’t watch Gaelic football much, so I only notice the differences with AFL, which are chiefly that there’s a soccer goal at each end with its own points value (no nets in AFL), and a round ball (AFL has an oval ball). I don’t think anyone, anywhere really understands the scoring system.
It’s equivalent to getting Tennis and Badminton players together and pretending it means anything significant. It’s ‘gas craic’ (good fun), mainly for the constant debating about the rules and how much they differ from either of the sports it’s based on. No wonder players take to belting the shite out of each other in frustration. Less wonder that the refs get a little tetchy as well.
Nonetheless, it has the important catchphrase peppering the marketing hype: “International Pride Is On The Line”.
What I don’t get is the current discussion in Australia about whether we’re going to be continuing this competition any more. Wha… just because we can’t win more than we lose? Are we that petty?
Anyway. Congratulations to Ireland. Let the ragging begin.

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