The View From Down Here #13

I thought this was going to be a brief one as things are really in that lull of between seasons. But somehow there was still more than enough for me to write about and whinge about… and hopefully for you to read about as well.

Australian Rules Football
International Rules
In a rather strange and yet ultimately vain attempt to give Australian Rules Football international legitimacy, for the past decade or so, Australia and Ireland have intermittently played an “International Rules” hybrid game of ARF and Gaelic Football. While the spectacle itself is entertaining and really rather enjoyable, it still beggars the question: Why? A much better option would be to have a “rest of the world” team play the SANFL or VFL premier. The USA has quite a strong little ARF competition going, and, although mainly populated by ex-pats, the UK has one as well, and it is growing in South Africa of late. But the AFL wants everything and they want it yesterday, and so this farce of a game continues ad nauseam. Two matches this year – in Perth and Melbourne (disappointed Adelaide didn’t get a guernsey, but I can see their reasoning; our notoriously fickle AFL fans would not turn out because they are, in general, snobs) – and it should be fun. Pointless, sure, but fun.

Motorsport
Bathurst 1000
The Motorsport event of Australia. Forget Formula 1, the Indy car race, moto-gp, 500cc bikes, this closed wheel event pitting Holden against Ford is the one race everyone in Australia cares something vaguely about. Who cares if it’s a monumental waste of the precious commodity – petrol? It’s Bathurst! And after the death a few years ago of Peter Brock, Bathurst legend, the race has something of a touch of nostalgia about it. And so to this year’s event.
            Ford drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won the Bathurst 1000, and in doing so have become the first in 24 years to win three of these events. New Zealanders Greg Murphy and Jason Richards came second in their Holden after a last lap pass, with the Ford of James Courtney and David Besnard third.

Basketball
NBL – Round 4
Perth 105 def. Melbourne 101
Cairns 122 def. New Zealand 111
Sydney Spirit 98 def. Gold Coast 93
Wollongong 85 def. Perth 82
Melbourne 118 def Adelaide 91
Sydney Spirit 68 lost to Perth 71
WNBL – Round 2
Adelaide 97 def. Bendigo 65
Canberra 84 def. Sydney 74
AIS 79 lost to Sydney 82
Dandenong 63 def Logan 48
Bulleen 92 def Logan 61
Perth 101 def Bendigo 95

Soccer
Asian Champions League
Adelaide City 3 def Bunyodkor 0
Wow! There’s a chance Adelaide might go through even further! Though, of course, if you lived anywhere other than Adelaide in Australia you wouldn’t know. If this had been a Melbourne or Sydney team, there would not be sports pages big enough to hold all the news about it, but because of that Eastern States bias yet again, Adelaide look like earning soccer in Australia a nice payday and no-one cares outside of Adelaide. This is getting more coverage in South-East Asia than in Australia. It’s disgusting the way the eastern states think the world revolves around them, when most of the world doesn’t even know they exist. Sigh! </rant over> But Adelaide doing well yet again. Fantastic effort.

Netball
Australia 43 def England 33
A great win for Australia in a disappointing match. Now, I am something of a fan; the skill of netballers is beyond what many give them credit for. I find the game much faster and more entertaining than basketball (where, just as things look like they’re going to get exciting, some-one goes to the free throw line or calls a time out to make sure no-one gets too much fun out of the sport). In the past the Australian team has been dominant, but the current new-look team has some work to do to match New Zealand.

Cricket
Australia v India
India are upping the ante against Australia, claiming the Australians cheated. This coming from India which uses pitches in their own country as weapons, and who defend bowlers with suspect actions, and who make sure they get their own way when it comes to umpires by using the subcontinent bloc on the International Cricket Council. Sure, Australia probably did cheat – under Ricky Ponting’s captaincy Australia have become even more bastard-like than under Steve Waugh – but so do India and for them to cry about it now just shows how pathetic international cricketers from all countries really are. But I’ll still watch the matches and barrack for Australia, and we’ll probably get done, so there you have it.
First Test
Australia 430 & 6/228; India 360 & 4/165
A sporting declaration from Australia on the final day did not prevent a dull draw petering out the at times spiteful game. Australian cricket arrogance and Indian cricket selfishness collided to create an atmosphere not unlike two six year olds wanting the same tip truck in the sand pit. Bad light stopped play; it could just as easily have been boring cricket.
Australian Domestic
Shefield Shield: Queensland 236 & 62; Tasmania 106 & 144; Queensland won by 48 runs, outright points
One day: South Australia 5/239; Victoria 2/240 in 43.1 overs; Victoria won by 8 wickets

Tennis
The Australian Open has decided to increase substantially the amount of prize-money on offer as of the 2009 Open. Great. No problems… except.
            Why do women at Grand Slams get the same pay as men? In other tournaments I can understand it – everyone plays best of 3 sets. Equal pay for equal work. But not in Grand Slams. Women do 60% of the work (3 sets to 5). In fact, an analysis of the match times at the US Open in 2007 showed women actually were on court, on average, 57.5% of the time the men were. So either the women play best of 5 sets, or they accept 60% of the prize-money. But, no, that’s sexist, apparently. The concept of equality doesn’t enter into it when women command such huge audience figures… Hang on, really? (Yes, that argument was used by a US tennis player). Men’s only tournaments rate higher than women’s only ones. There is more sponsorship for the men’s tour. But that doesn’t matter. The women have finally succeeded in making equality unequal.
            But nothing stops the fact that modern tennis is boring as watching grass grow. Go to YouTube and find McEnroe v Borg and then compare that to today’s matches. Give me the 1970s and 1980s every time… <*/end another rant*>

And to finish, in response to an e-mail, what do we in Australia think of the US election? Not a real lot, to be honest. The college electoral system makes so little sense to us we don’t even bother trying to understand it. But the candidates come across thus: Obama is just another politician, spouting platitudes that may or may not be worth something. Stereotypical charismatic politician. McCain, though, scares us. He comes across as racist the way he has refused to shake Obama’s hand (and that was played big over here), as old and doddery, as a war-monger, and as an idiot. Biden we know absolutely nothing about. Palin is portrayed here as a war-mongering religious zealot who has less than no idea. That has a lot to do with our media (which is surprising, as they are more geared towards the Republicans) and the fact that Palin reminds us of Pauline Hanson, an Australian independent politician who the media reported wanted to send all non-whites back overseas. She scared us… except in Queensland, which is the Australian version of Texas, only with less rain. They voted for her.

All right, sorry. Went off a few times there… But that is, after all, my view from down here.

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