Monday, February 21, 2011

Ignore the oval ball

I’ve recently met people who were planning big events towards the end of this year but are thinking they’ll pull the plug. Because, hurtling down the track is the all-consuming Rugby World Cup.
I know some of you can hardly wait. But me, come September, I’d rather be outta here. I know I’m not alone. Even Martin Snedden, the RWC chief executive, thinks about 40% of us are either indifferent to rugby or actively dislike it. But you’ll never know that in September when it will be severely unpatriotic to refuse to haul on an AB shirt and paint your face black.
I was therefore overjoyed to discover a Melbourne group that detests all the feverish hype surrounding Aussie Rules - run by the AFL, short for Australian Football League.
To poke fun at footy hysteria these rebels formed a different AFL, the Anti Football League.
It’s 41 years old and has 1000 members, 60% female.
I’ve been having a giggle reading their website.
It declares members are united by the common understanding that there is more to life than the ability to kick a pigskin between two white posts. They also hand out an annual medal to 'the person who does the least for football in a given year'.
It’s all done in good humour. They periodically destroy a football – by explosion, for instance, by fire or by burial at sea. They meet away from TV sets to enjoy alternative amusements on cup final days.
Members can even buy a badge, Madge, in the shape of a square, unkickable football. Stickers are available too – that’s how it looks (above). And, bless ‘em, they raise lots of funds for charity (despite which they get lots of hate mail).
Great idea, I reckon. We could sure do with an alternative world cup event. Not easy, though, to dream up a suitable name with the initials RWC. I’m working on it, but given the power of rugby I’ll probably find the boys have already slapped copyright on it.

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