Australia has a huge sports culture. So how are we supposed to deal with our grief at the end of the footy season?
There is no reason for sports fans to ever go hungry for football
“The problem with winter sports” said American writer Dave Barry, “is that they generally take place during winter.” As rugby union, rugby league and AFL seasons wind down to a close, footy fans will fully understand this dilemma.
As so many fans know, a win or a loss in the finals series can be the difference between agony and ecstasy for those who have invested so much time, money and emotional energy into their particular football team. But while winning the grand final is vindication of all the emotional hardship, falling at the final hurdle just makes us hungry for more. The looming off-season is a painful reminder of how long it will take for another finals series to come around.
Lost and confused
Off-seasons are a terrible idea. While they give players time to rest and recuperate, spectators and fans are left with a fundamental and sudden break in their routine.
Whether you watch your team alone, with family or friends, at the pub, in the stadium or at home, football offers a regular and enjoyable weekly activity. It’s something you can set your watch to, and something to chat about with mates to pass the time at school or at work.
American rock and roller Darius Rucker once said, “there are two times of the year for me: football season, and waiting for football season.” It’s an attitude that will no doubt resonate with many football fans in Australia. Loyalty to one particular type of football, whether it be rugby league, Australian Rules, rugby union or soccer is not uncommon.
A welcome solution
However, unlike many other countries, Australia is blessed with having football all-year round. Since the NRL, Super 15 Rugby and AFL run during winter, and the A-League runs during summer, there is no reason for sports fans to ever go hungry for football.
Tradition dictates that the rugby codes and AFL are played in winter. And while professional soccer also used to be played during the winter months, in the early 1990s it changed to summer to avoid competing directly with it’s competitors.
Rusted-on Newcastle Knights supporters can now visit Newcastle Jets games at the same stadium during the summer, while Western Force rugby fans can continue their weekly visit to Perth Oval to watch Perth Glory play in the A-League. In a football-mad nation, this year-round footy fest is a terrific solution. In Australia, there truly is no off-season.