Learn English While Learning About Daily Life in Australia – with Rob McCormack
Podcast Number 2 – Australian Rules Football
Do you like sport? Australians, and particularly those who live in Melbourne, are crazy about sport. In Melbourne you can watch a large range of competitive sports. For example, I have been to see Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union, cricket, basketball, hockey, Taekwondo, golf, tennis, car racing, motorcycle racing and athletics, just to name those which I have attended here in Melbourne. Now most cities in the world have lots of sports events, but in Melbourne we attend these events in large numbers. For example, the Grand Final of the Australian Rules Football competition in September of each year has around 100,000 sports fans attend the match. And we have the sports ground big enough to hold such a large crowd, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (popularly called ‘The MCG’, or ‘The G’). In this podcast, I would like to talk about Australian Rules Football.
Australian Rules Football (called ‘Footy’ by fans all around Australia) is around 150 years old. It is played with an oval shaped ball by two teams, each with 18 players. The team which kicks the most goals and points wins the game. It is a very physical game and its main characteristics are speed, strong tackling, long kicking (up to 70 metres), long handballs (up to 30 metres) and high marks. A ‘mark’ is when someone catches a kicked ball.
Those fans who follow their teams (‘footy fans’) are indeed fanatical. There are currently 18 teams in the top level competition, the Australian Football League (called the ‘AFL’). The oldest team in the AFL competition is Melbourne (also known as ‘the Demons’), which formed in 1858. It is the oldest football team in the world. The team with the largest following today is Collingwood (also known as ‘the Magpies’), which has 72,600 paid up members. Collingwood fans are very fanatical indeed, and it is probably true to say that Collingwood is the team which all other football fans ‘love to hate’. I follow a team called Essendon (also known as ‘the Bombers’), and our two biggest rivals are Carlton (also known as ‘the Blues’) and, of course, Collingwood.
So what’s it like to attend a big game of Australian Rules Football? Well, it’s exciting, loud, fun and passionate. And it’s played fast and furious. Top level players run approximately 14 kilometres during a game, further than in any other game. Footy Fans arrive early, usually with a colourful club scarf, beanie and perhaps a club jumper.
Up the mighty Bombers! The crowd love to shout, cheer and clap whenever a goal is kicked, or a high mark taken. And disagreeing with the umpire (the ‘man in white’) is an old tradition amongst footy fans. For most footy fans, the umpire makes the wrong decision about half the time.
One of my favourite memories is watching a great player called Michael Long for Essendon, playing at the MCG. Michael has retired now but he was a fast, agile and brave player. He played on the wing, down one side of the ground. I can remember the ball being kicked to him near the boundary line in front of the full Great Southern Stand, holding 45,000 fans. When he marked the ball, the crowd in that stand seemed to rise as one and they roared loud enough to burst your ears. Michael ran like the wind down the boundary line, bouncing the ball every 10 metres as he went (as required by the rules). Players from the other side had no chance to catch him with that crowd cheering him on. His run ended with a long kick to score a goal. Then we rose to our feet and cheered as loud as we could, hands and fists pumping the air, along with about 40,000 other Essendon fans. Up the mighty Bombers!
If you have a question or a comment to make, please leave it by clicking the comments link at the top of this story. Goodbye until next time.
Podcast 2 Quiz - Did you understand the podcast?
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Question 1 of 10
True or False? – Rob has been to see many sports in Melbourne.Correct
Question 2 of 10
True or False? – The Australian Rules Football Grand Final is held in October of each year and it has around 100,000 fans attend.Correct
Question 3 of 10
True or False? – Melbourne has a sports ground big enough to hold 100,000 fans and it is called the MCG.Correct
Question 4 of 10
True or False? – In Australian Rule Football, a ‘mark’ is when someone kicks the ball up to 70 metres.Correct
Question 5 of 10
True or False? – Rob thinks Collingwood is the best Australian Rules Football team.Correct
Question 6 of 10
True or False? – During a game of Australian Rules Football, top level players run approximately 14 kilometres.Correct
Question 7 of 10
True or False? – It is a tradition in Footy to disagree with the umpire around half of the time.Correct
Question 8 of 10
True or False? – Michael Long played for Essendon and he is now retired.Correct
Question 9 of 10
True or False? – When Michael Long marked the ball, the crowd roared loud enough to burst your ears.Correct
Question 10 of 10
True or False? – Rob likes to call out ‘Up the mighty Bombers’ when he watches Essendon play football.Correct
agile = when you can move very quickly
approximately = about equal to, almost equal to
attended = when you have gone to a place
beanie = something you wear on your head to keep warm, often in your team colours
bouncing = when you throw the ball to the ground and then catch it when it comes up
boundary = the edge of the playing area
brave = when you are afraid, but you still do something
burst = when something breaks
characteristics = the things that make something unique
cheering = when the crowd calls out loudly
competitive = when you try to win in a game
crazy = mad, not thinking normally
currently = right now
disagreeing = when you do not agree with someone
ended = when something has finished
events = when something happens
fanatical = when you are very excited about something, when you like something a lot.
fists pumping = when you close your hand and put it up in the air.
following = the people who like a team and always want the team to win
furious = when a game is played with a lot of speed and the players play hard
goals = when you score in a game. In Australian Rules Football, a goal is the same as 6 points
Grand Final = the biggest game. The winner of this game wins everything
ground = a place where sport is played
handballs = when you pass the ball with your hands. In Australian Rules Football, the ball must be punched.
jumper = something you wear on your body to keep warm, often in your team colours
memories = things you remember from the past
oval shaped = not a circle, looks like an egg
paid up members = when somebody pays money to the club and joins the club.
particularly = especially
passionate = when you are very excited about something
physical = when people bump into one another in a game
points = when you score in a game, but you miss the goal
required = when something must be done
retired = when you are older and no longer play the sport
rivals = a team that you always like to beat when you play them in a game
scarf = something you wear around your neck to keep warm, often in your team colours
speed = when something is fast
tackling = when you grab or hold the other player in a game
tradition = when something has been there for a long time
umpire = the person who blows the whistle and says the rules of the game
wing = a place on the football field, near the edge of the playing area.