For any of you who have the vaguest idea, in Australia the sports that are common to the rest of the world, aren’t so common to Australia. Many of the sports were brought to the country by the English. Australia’s biggest sports don’t even unite the vast country together, that is they aren’t played in every state. Because of a climate, where snow anywhere on the mainland is a freak event, Australians take advantage of the good weather conditions, and sport is enjoyed by many people and in many different categories.
1. Cricket: Australia’s #1 sport. The only sport that brings the whole nation together. Many people would say it is as exciting as watching paint dry, but that’s not if you’re an Australian cricket fan. And it’s still more exciting than golf. The idea is to throw a ball toward the ground in a an overarm throw action, and the hitter protects 3 sticks, otherwise he goes back to the stadium. Until recently the Australian team was an invincible force, then things went all pear shaped and quickly. They say that the captain of the Australian cricket team is the 2nd most important person in the country (after the Prime Minister)
2. Australian Football (AFL): this strange game is played by everyone that is not Queensland or New South Wales, therefore it is the 2nd most popular sport. Played in winter, the trick is to get an oval ball between 3 giant sticks, the amazing thing is if you miss a target that large, if you miss you have to be uncoordinated. Fans of this sport only have the national competition to watch their sport as it is played nowhere else in the world. An average fan would watch every televised national club game, which is usually around 9. For this reason they are world champions.
3. Rugby League– played on the east coast in New South Wales and Queensland, which is a little less than half of the Australian population. This sport is noted for sticking your face in what is known as a scrum, next to someone else’s butt, and trying not to sniff it. It is a hard contact sport, with many heavy hits. The benchmark of the game is the annual State of Origin between the 2 states, it is also played professionally in England, and a little in New Zealand.
4. Football: the round ball game, it is the most played winter sport because the other football codes are not united. Usually played by children of migrants, including some British ones, Australia is becoming more and more competitive, although not yet a big force. Most fans of football also support their local League or AFL team
5. Rugby Union: Similar to Rugby League, Australia has fewer players than Fiji, but because of league Australia is usually ranked 2nd or 3rd in the world, always after the invincible All Blacks.
6. Tennis: once a very important sport in Australia, tennis has taken a back seat lately because of a recent lack of success from local players. Just before the Open era in tennis, Australia was the best in the world for 20 years. It shows in Davis Cup results where the 2 most successful countries US 32 and Australia 28 Davis Cup wins are well ahead of the 3rd most successful country, Great Britain with 5 wins. Rod Laver is also the only person to win 2 grand slams.
7. Surfing: With a country surrounded by water, some of them turbulent coastlines, Australians have really taken to surfing. On a good day most surf spots around the east coast, near Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart are full of surfers. Also, Australia has more or less dominated the sport. At the moment it is more numbers of Australians in the professional ranks, but still no-one can beat the one man surfer freak Kelly Slater 11 times world champion.
8. Swimming: Such a hot country Australia, most of the children turn into fish at a young age, in an attempt to keep themselves cool. Swim lessons are encouraged for school children to reduce accidents in the water. The Surf Life Saver movement was started in Australia to protect the many beach goers, and these days is an Australian cultural institution.
9. Hockey: Field hockey, brought by the English is a traditional Commonwealth sport. India traditionally have been the most competitive team, and Australia have an impressive statistic of always coming 2nd no matter who is the world champion. Recently world champions changed from Holland to Germany but not the #2 spot. I believe finally Australia is world number 1. The women’s team seems to have better results than the men.
10. Netball: Another sport brought by the English, it resembles very much basketball, but is the most played women’s sport in the country. Once you receive the ball you can’t move and have to pass the ball to gain ground. The best teams in the world are usually Australia, New Zealand and West Indies.
There are many more British invented sports other than these examples which are played in Australia, but these are the main ones.