Well I made it despite a very long flight. I’ve been wandering around Sydney a few days and yesterday took a day trip out to the Blue Mountains. I was once again was reminded how important this blog is in voicing a different opinion about sports–women’s sports! My coach bus driver (yes I took one of those cheesy coach tours!) was a really nice guy and very informative. It was about a 1.5 hr trip so he was sprinkling in random facts and history along the way. Of course he had to mention Australia has 4 professional sports-rugby, cricket, soccer, and Australian Rules Football (AFL). He gave me my opening! I’m trying desperately to figure out the rules of rugby and AFL by watching it on TV, because one of the other or both are ALWAYS on regardless of what time of day it is (I know because I’m up at 3am due to the time change).
I learned there are two types of rugby (rugby league and rugby union) and 3 types of cricket (20-20, 1 day, and test matches). My driver said Australia had just finished the Cricket World Cup Twenty-20 in the West Indies and everyone was very disappointed to lose the championship to England. He didn’t say he was talking about the men’s cricket team, it was just assumed and normal that was who he was talking about. I asked if the women played cricket and were also at that World Cup and he said yes they do play but they play “at another time” but he didn’t know when or where. He also talked at length about rugby without mentioning the women at all. I asked if women play professional rugby or AFL because I hadn’t seen ANY women’s matches of either on the TV yet. After going into great detail when talking about the men, he just briefly said “no the women don’t play AFL, and yes they play rugby but only rugby league”, so I dropped my line of inquiry as he clearly had NO interest in talking about women’s sport and seemed surprised that someone would be asking such questions (sigh). So I guess that women’s sport here is no different than in the U.S.–second fiddle to the men’s teams and get FAR less media coverage. He did tell me that the Gold and Green colors the Australian teams wear can be attributed to the Golden Wattle tree. It never dawned on me that the Australian flag is red, white and blue but Olympic athletes wear gold and green. Huh.
Well, as the IWG World Congress of Women in Sport begins tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll have more to report on these issues. Stay tuned!