It’s been quite a while since I posted, and I was looking for a way to jump back in. DFO’s burgeoning interest in football from the land down under has prompted me to write about my trip to the footy grounds for the Port Adelaide Power’s Easter Sunday clash with Dr. Zymm’s own St. Kilda Saints.
I’ve been to a few AFL games before, but this time Lady WEW and I were taking my parents, who were visiting me in Adelaide for the first time since I moved here in 2013. My dad enjoys ball sports of all kinds (phrasing!) and my mom just enjoys a place to get out of the rain, so all were satisfied with the day’s outing.
The first thing you notice about the AFL pitch is that it is HUGE. Much like baseball, the dimensions vary from stadium to stadium, but the pitch at Adelaide Oval is 167m x 124m, or roughly twice as long and twice as wide as an NFL field.
Before taking your seat, you of course have to visit the merch stand. For some reason, the most popular AFL trinket is a team scarf. When I first moved here, Lady WEW’s grandfather, who has been a season ticket holder since Tom Coughlin wore short pants, asked me who I planned to support – Adelaide or Port Adelaide. Knowing that Adelaide roughly translated to the Giants and Port to the Jets, I of course chose the underdog. He was so pleased that he gave me his season ticket member’s scarf. The scarf is closely followed in popularity by the beer coozy, which Australians, much to my eternal amusement, call a stubby holder.
Port Adelaide is decked out in teal and black, which means you’ll be just shocked to learn that the team joined the AFL in 1997. The team has actually been around since 1870, but knocked around in smaller leagues until getting the big call. Port Adelaide traditionally wore black and white stripes, but that was too similar to the uniform worn by Collingwood of the AFL, so the jump prompted a redesign with the hot color of the day.
This was the first game of the season for both teams, and Port Adelaide was heavily favored against the hapless Saints. In a sport where a team scores an average of 80 to 100 points, the Power were 37.5 point favorites (which reminds me, one reason the AFL is better than the NFL* is that you can bet on the game inside the stadium).
That’s why they play the game.
St. Kilda jumped out to an early lead and held it throughout most of the game. Port Adelaide was playing all offense, no defense, and giving up easy goals due to overaggressive play. The natives were restless, and let me tell you, AFL fans can boo with all the skill of NFL fans. They even boo with an accent. Early in the fourth quarter, the Saints held a 93-87 lead before Port Adelaide finally pulled their thumbs out and finished the game on a 40-7 run to win 133-100.
The Power avoided a Round 1 upset, and all was well in the world. They even almost covered! After a win, the fans sing the team song in the stands, which is a pretty cool tradition that I am much too self-conscious to participate in. I’ll end the post with a short video I took of the celebration.
* Trademarked by Balls of Steel
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