Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What is better than Sport and Travelling?

I Love Sport.

No kidding, I'm a guy. Not exactly a big revelation.

No I mean I REALLY love sport. Any sport really. It's got everything, heroes, villains, comedy, tragedy. Australian Rules Football was my first sports love, Basketball perhaps my biggest.

I'm also a massive travel junkie. Since I got my passport 5 years ago, all I've wanted to do is get out and see the world.

These two things would seem at odds with each other - how do you follow your footy team back home when you're away for two years at a time? They don't have to be though.

I've discovered in my travels, that, while I still love the sports, leagues and teams I grew up with, I become addicted to the local sports and teams when I get somewhere else. It has all of the same elements. While the game itself may be different, all of the good stuff is still there. The passion for your club, the historical (and often arbitrary) arch rivals, and people coming together for a shared goal.

The perfect example of how much of a travelling sports junkie I really am - and the inspiration to start blogging - came on the weekend just past, when I was in Calgary during the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup. I'd never heard of the Grey Cup - the CFL's version of the Super Bowl - until a week ago, while in Saskatoon, Canada, with some local friends watching their team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, win their way into the cup against the Montreal Alouettes.

When I arrived in Calgary, the host city, it was filled with football fans from all over Canada who were there to celebrate their game and enjoy the Grey Cup Festival. Even fans of the teams who didn't make the final were there proudly wearing their teams colours. This was a celebration of the sport and the game as much as it was about who was going to be the eventual champion.

I found myself well and truly caught up in the atmosphere, and while I still didn't know a thing about Canadian Football, I adopted a team - the Roughriders - and joined in the festivities.

The game itself was no let down. Montreal were the favourites, while Saskatchewan were easily the crowd favourite, with a sea of green in the stands. While the 'Riders got out to a good lead at half time, Montreal fought back and won in a fashion befitting a Hollywood movie. Damon Duvall, the Kicker/Punter for Montreal had a very dirty match, shanking a pair of punts in the third quarter to gift the 'Riders a score. He would have his chance at redemption however, lining up for goal with 2 seconds on the clock. He missed it. More pain. And yet another chance. The Roughriders had too many men on the field, so he would now line up from 10 yards closer, and this time there would be no mistake. He was now a hero. Where else can you get drama like that other than the sports field?

Throughout the game I cheered, booed, celebrated, rode every pass, every kick and ultimately was bitterly disappointed that the Roughriders lost, despite being a fan of the game for exactly one week. I couldn't have been more into it had it been my beloved St Kilda Saints losing a winnable AFL Grand Final. Oh, lets not talk about that.
I've been lucky enough to witness some amazing things happen in sport, in stadiums (and bars) all over the world. But I'm just getting started. Over the next two years I'm going to be living in Canada and trying to get to as many sporting contests as possible in North America (and hopefully Europe) with a big one first as the 2010 Winter Olympics comes to my new home, Vancouver in a little over two months.

On this blog I plan on talking about all things to do with sports throughout the world. The similarities, the differences, what makes each sport so important to each region and what lessons my favourite sports in Australia could take from all of this.

Most of all I'm gonna have some fun. After all, what could possibly be better then travelling and watching the top sports in the world?

No comments:

Post a Comment