Yesterday I felt oppressed by the dominance of sports culture in Australia. It was a meeting and we were making introductions and we had to say something interesting about ourselves. And most people’s ‘interesting thing’ was their sporting loyalty, some comment staking their loyalty and denigrating a different sports code or a rival team. What I hated the most was the raucous laughter which accompanied it. To me, it felt so unfunny and childish.
Usually I wouldn’t care much, but the mood I was in yesterday, it felt oppressive. It was made worse when someone explained to the visiting Englishman, ‘This is just Aussie humour’. And that made me think how sporting obsession is normalised and if you don’t fit it, you’re abnormal. Common ground is established by exploring one’s football loyalties. If you don’t care about the football… what sort of person are you?
Football team loyalty seems misguided to me. The players themselves swap teams. (Do they care who they’re playing for?)
Do I want everyone to start appreciating the arts more? What if you established initial common ground by giving your opinion on James Joyce or how moved you are or not by Beethoven?
Yes and no. As much as I feel oppressed by a raucous, crass, crude, unthinking, primitive culture of sport which elevates men (and only a few women) as national heroes for their ability to kick balls or swim fast, I wouldn’t actually like to be a part of the mainstream. I guess I relish my role as outsider and my shameful feelings of cultural superiority.
How about you?