Saturday, September 27, 2008

Footy, Pt. 3 -- Results

The Grand Final -- fantastic. Hawthorn v. Geelong, with Geelong last year's champion and the clear favorites. A very, very close game for much of the go. In my limited experience this is quite unusual. Usually one team surges ahead 15, 20 points, and then the other rushes back. It's a game of wild and unexpected shots of momentum (another reason I like it).

But in the 4th quarter, Hawthorn pushed ahead, winning in the end by a margin of about 30 points. A great game.

And watching it, at the Australian Hotel, I noticed a couple other great and wild things about AFL. Like guys unapologetically wearing striped socks that go all the way to their knees. You have to love that.

Or the clock -- in AFL, each quarter is 25 minutes, and the on-field clock runs constantly. However, every time a team scores, the officials keep track of the time required to get the ball to the center of the field, where they have a sort of reverse jump ball (the ref throws the ball down very hard, it flies into the sky and the teams try to get it). That "lost" time is added back by extending play beyond the 25 minutes. But how long can vary widely, depending on how much scoring or other things have occurred. So, as a bystander, it adds great anticipation. You just don't know when time is going to be called. I love that.

The bar was filled with Australians, and we were there until about 4am, eating and drinking. It brought back many good memories.

A last little observation: Players on the winning team are called up individually; the championship medals are placed around their necks by small children (I'd say ages 5 or 6). They receive their medals, then shake the children's hand and give them championship hats. It's a wonderful little tradition. I'm sure it means heaps to the kids.

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