For a time, life went on for Tim Reynolds. The change of New Zealand for Victoria's state it was smoother than I thought. And, in a flash, the newcomer found a job, started a family, and began to adapt to Australian ways.
But Tim never managed to get rid of his pompous and overly institutional posture. The sentences always came out too leisurely and haughty, and his expressions of spontaneity came months apart, glimpses of a corrupt and long-lost youth.
One of the inevitable consequences was divorce and the complete breakdown of the home that had long threatened to collapse. Nick, his youngest son, had decided to stay with him and not his mother. The choice, self-serving, quickly confirmed the descendant's total contempt. And an assumed indifference that only deepened his father's hurt and emptiness.
That's how we know him. Desperate and looking for a new existence. Travel had proved a delightful escape, but his well-paying job – A$ 1500 a week as a guard in Melbourne court – forbade major evasion.
Tim Reynolds' Generous Welcome
Not being able to go to the mountain, Tim had to draw the mountain to himself. And the solution he arrived at was to become a host of foreigners visiting South Australia, something that quickly became an obsession, to the point of assuming online the desire to welcome people from all over the world.
In addition to telling his guests about his wanderings around the planet, Tim enjoyed unraveling exquisite encyclopedic knowledge. Aware that we come from a country adept at sporting kings, he can't resist reporting the old feats of Eusébio and wins us 10 dollars in a bet on the number of world titles in Uruguay.
Afterwards, he goes on to boast the superior qualities of rugby and, to our absolute surprise, an unknown sport of which he became an unconditional supporter after arriving from the New Zealand, Australian Football.
The transmissions of the challenges of the downunder These modalities helped him pass the time, especially while the travelers he received were away to discover Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road's natural sumptuousness.
Essendon vs Collingwood. Derbi at the gigantic Melbourne Cricket Ground
From time to time, Tim even made a point of watching a game sitting in the stadium. Our curiosity about the sport, which we hadn't even heard of, emerged as the pretext he needed to repeat it.
“Hurry up, I don't want to miss the beginning of the game, he alerts as we wolf down the last of the chips in the little house of faith.ish & chips of Caulfield." Infected by her pent-up excitement, we began to feel some frenzy.
The opposing teams from Essendon and Collingwood enter the gigantic arena at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
We drive from the far outskirts to the center of Melbourne and arrive at the stadium late. We bought the tickets, went in and sat down still excited, with the game already in progress.
But the euphoria quickly wears off as the teams from Collingwood and Essendon battle the tiny stretched spheroid, tiny in the immensity of Etihad Stadium. We confirm the suspicion that, for any fanatic of the sporting king, that eccentric game too quickly proves soporific.
The Unexpected Complexity of Australian Football
We have 36 players on the field, plus a series of referees.
As if that wasn't enough, the oval pitch – which seems bigger than some countries – is invaded all the time by secondary players from the teams whose functions for us are enigmatic and reveals itself as a stage of chaos that the frequent substitutions and interruptions reinforce.
It is also difficult for us to appreciate the frequency with which the ball is kicked – or, worse, thrown by clenched fists – through the air or slammed into the ground, only to be disputed by opponents who jump with their arms outstretched to the sky.
Collingwood player kicks the ball to his team's attacking front.
These alleged flaws are, however, unique qualities for incorruptible fans of the state of Victoria and elsewhere in Australia. On a day of the Grand Final of the AFL (Australian Football League), the biggest stadium in the country, the MCG – Melbourne Cricket Ground – undergoes an adaptation to the rival modality and can host almost one hundred thousand fans.
Accordingly, in 2008, the average attendance of the championship was around 39.000 spectators, in an annual total of seven million distributed by one hundred and seventy-six matches.
The Growing Popularity of Newborn Australian Football
Despite these convincing numbers, Australian football is still a hot topic among Australians. Sport has prevailed in Melbourne (where he was born) and the inhabited rest of southern Australia. It gains ground in other states where the national association has been injecting money to make it a true national phenomenon.
But its increasingly commercial popularity collides with that of rugby and cricket. Although official records count 130.000 adult players and around 2.600 teams, so far, the footy only convinced about half the population of the big island.
Interestingly, many Aborigines are inveterate fans, contributed by the fact that some of their communities have famous practitioners in various clubs.
An Aboriginal supporter of the Collingwood (Magpies) team follows the emotions of the match. There are several Aboriginal players serving different Australian AFL teams.
Outside Australia, there are reportedly 30 countries that practice it, with the greatest significance in neighboring Papua New Guinea and New Zealand but also in the South Africa, our United States and even a little in Europe.
The Many Variants of Australian Football
At the same time, Rules gave rise to a series of modalities adapted with rules that allow different physical contacts. These were the cases of Kick-to-Kick, End-to-End Footy, Markers Up, AusKick, Rec Footy, 9-a-Side Footy and Masters Australian Footy.
Essendon and Collingwood players jump to win an aerial ball.
When faced with the absence of dedicated fields, Australian players living abroad created as many local versions as possible. These were the cases of Metro Footy and the Samoa Rules.
In 1956, Rules was practiced as an exhibition sport in the Melbourne Summer Olympics. Later, from 1967, several matches took place between Australian and Gaelic (mainly Irish) clubs.
In 1998, the International Rules Series took place, a competition between the two respective teams that would be suspended, in 2007, due to the excessive violence of the Australian team in the previous year.
The exaggeration of ozzies it even forced the laws of the game to be changed to safeguard the player in possession of the ball. The following year, that protection seemed assured and minimal testing was resumed in Australia.
Tim is just one of many more recent supporters but defends the “Rules” with the force of a crowd: “You Europeans are eternal addicts to this sport of barbarians…” he snipes without ever losing his composure. “Here, we are always evolving.”
Melbourne Derbi Possible Records
We end up confirming it when we are victims of the marketing that the modality was involved in. Upon entering the stadium, careless security guards had let us through with cameras and professional lenses. But, we had already registered the game for half an hour when a steward coming out of nowhere prohibits us from shooting because of commercial restrictions of the home team.
Essendon fans support your team's entry.
Tim indulges us and we take refuge from supervision in the secluded confines of the third ring. From there, we stole some extra footage but distanced ourselves even further from the action and short relationship with sport.
After the final whistle, the Essendon Bombers get the better of Collingwood's Listed Magpies. The host returns home excited and we with our curiosity satisfied but not convinced.
Essendon players return to the changing rooms after their victory against Collingwood.
Australians created Rules and dare to call football a sport in which, almost a century later, all players still play with their hands. For any serious football fan, the punishment is obvious: let them play it.