"We Aussies are super passionate about our sport"
Australia has a VERY DISTINGUISHED world wide reputation as a sporting nation
In fact we love our sport!
Our land is crammed full of sportsmen and women playing almost every conceivable international sport and more especially own very own!
Going to sporting events is one of our passions. Babys in prams are taken and children as young as three or four and grandma and grandpa all go wearing their team colors, waving their supporters flags and displaying banners and sometimes signs with descriptive words praising players are held high.
If we cannot be involved or play, then we watch, yell and scream our support.
As far back as 1854 Victoria has had two FOOTBALL clubs, Melbourne and Geelong, making them the oldest registered football clubs in the WORLD.
In fact the Victorian Football Association (VFA) was the first official football competition anywhere in the modern western world!
Australians were competing internationally in the very early 1900's and from that time until the present day we are still producing a great many CHAMPIONS from our relatively small population of just over 20 million people.
Local clubs have the same enthusiastic number in players and supporters wherever they are. Big cities and small country towns all have a local 'footy team' and 'netball team' supported by many energetic volunteers.
Aussies have always been keen on the Olympics with Edwin Flack being the very first gold medal winner for swimming way back at the first modern summer Olympics in Athens in 1896. Australia has competed at every Summer Olympics and most Winter Olympics with Steven Bradbury eventually being the first Winter Gold Medal winner in 2002 in a famous short track speed final.
Australia's best Olympics Results have been:-
Melbourne 1956: 35 medals (13 gold, 8 silver, 14 bronze) - their 3rd place remains the highest place ever achieved by an Australian team.
Sydney 2000: 58 medals [16 - 25 - 17] 4th place
Athens 2004: 50 medals [17 - 16 - 17] 4th place
In the summer months the most popular team game is CRICKET. Having said that we are also keen on SURFING, Swimming, Sail boarding, Para - sailing, Yacht sailing, Kayaking and any other water sport you can think of.
In winter the team sport is FOOTBALL. There are many winter ball games, Rugby, Rugby league, Soccer and Australian Rules. They are all favourites and have a tremendous following. We also snow ski, snow board, climb mountains, BUSHWALKING, and much, much more.
Australia has many sporting clubs for men and women.
To say we love our sport is an understatement!
Australia Rules Football
It is the fastest competively played open field game in the world with only Ice Hockey, which is mostly played indoors, actually faster as a game. Some would argue that it is also the most multi-talented game in the world.
A game of speed, kicking ability, ball control and fierce tackling, it is played right across Australia and now also played extensively by girls and women in their own leagues.
Watch a player jump on top of an opponents shoulders to 'take a hanger' (to 'mark' or catch the ball) or run at a top sprint bouncing the oblong shaped ball and you do have to marvel at the talent and skill.
While NETBALL has long been the conventional winter sport for young girls and women, Basketball has steadily grown to be popular in schools among the boys.
However as is true in many sports Aussie girls are also playing the game for quite a while now with the Australian Opals womens national team winning medals at World Cup and Olympic Games on a regular basis.
When going on a picnic or to the beach, you could not go unless you took the cricket bat and a couple of balls. It is still the same today, and when you start to set up the stumps, others will come around and ask "Hey can we play?"
It is just the 'done thing' to play cricket in Australia!
Cycling has always been popular in the land downunder with Australian cyclists always performing well at the Olympic Games over the past century.
And ever since Phil Anderson first donned the Yellow Jersey in le Tour de France we have fallen in love with the great event with many Australians travelling to France every year to follow the event live.
Play on some special golf courses where the kangaroos roam freely and kookaburras laugh, you will not find anything in the world like it.
With a great variety of courses there is one within your budget to excite or relax on.
Once thought of as a sport you should take up when you retire, nowadays people of all ages are playing and not only in Australia.
The uniform or dress code of all cream is also slowly changing and much colour is creeping into the game. Even the bowls are brightening up, with colours like pink - pale blue and greens.
Most Aussie kids join the local team playing footy or Netball and most local clubs incorporate both sports to fully utilise volunteer support of their youngsters participation.
Due to its popularity it is no wonder that Australia excells at the highest International Level of the sport and now has a very professional competition at home.
Played by many Australian boys and young men mostly in New South Wales and Queensland though nowadays is also played by women as well. The sport has a great fan following in the northern states and in the Rugby circles of Western Australia as well as a growing fan-base in Melbourne.
The form of rugby played as a world sport in more countries and Australia has a fair representation performing well at the Rugby World Cup and other inter-country rivalries.
Given the competition between four different 'football' codes what our closest rellies the British call 'football' we call 'soccer', yes, as do the Yanks!
Nonetheless despite more than a few problems over the decades 'Soccer' is still gaining momentum at both grass roots level and at the top International Level with Australia reasonably constantly getting to the World Cup in recent decades.
Speedway racing began in Australia in the 1920s in Maitland in NSW. Speed car racing reached fever pitch during 1936 when drivers such as Jack Skelton, Dinney Patterson and others raced at the fame Melbourne Olympic Park.
It was often standing room only and not unusual to go to an AFL match and stay on for the speedway races. Speedway in many forms for cars and bikes is still popular in many towns.
Most Aussie kids grow up swimming; in rivers, lakes, dams and even swimming pools. Being competitive many not only take to the water but enjoy racing and Australian Swimmers are always most competitive at the Olypmics and other International swimming carnvials.
Australian LOVE tennis, and the country has produced more than a few world champions. Most country towns have free tennis courts available, mostly concrete or bitumen, but larger towns have artificial turf and even lawn tennis courts for hire at reasonable rates.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race: Photo Scott Phillipe