News Satire People Food Other

The Great Dance

By Dan Hutton on April 22, 2016 in

Photo:  James Maloney

Photo: James Maloney

April is a wonderful time of year. With a veritable orgy of football to watch I’m often left wondering, is this too much?

Am I overwhelmed, like a dwarf in a crowded elevator, by the crowd looming above me? The answer is an emphatic no. I am positively engorged at the prospect of how much football I get to watch this month!

NRL, Super Rugby, AFL, Premier League, A-League, what else? I wish at this stage I could rattle off a few female codes, but why lie to you? I don’t watch them. I wish I did, but perhaps I’m not as enlightened as I’d like to believe. I do watch women’s tennis… sometimes.

Some people judge football fans harshly. They see us as boorish thugs with no appreciation for culture or good sense; mindless drones who dribble maniacally as we cheer on a bunch of fellas out on parole to beat the hell out of each other. That’s only partly true.

They forget that some of the greatest intellectuals have been sports fans. When Hunter S. Thompson wasn’t neck deep in a hell raising drug bender or writing scathing articles on the political trail, he was often writing about football. Usually just as scathingly and probably still high, but he appreciated the great dance as much as anybody.

And isn’t that what football is, a marvellously choreographed piece involving some of the finest physical specimens society can dig up? If you chucked a footy into the middle of a ballet performance would it look all that different to a game of AFL? Funnily enough, I used to play with a bloke called ‘The Nutcracker’.

It is theatre, Hollywood and beat poetry rolled into one. Every season has its delicious subplots and twists. Heroes and villains unveil themselves in every scene. Some, like Michael Ennis, could even be considered Machiavellian. Coaches reign like wizened father figures or cackling crones. Players ad lib and leave us cheering in wonder or scratching our heads in complete befuddlement. And the media circle like stage crew.

There is a sad lack of romance, true, but given society’s relaxing attitudes to homosexuality, perhaps we will soon see more of it. I certainly hope so. A Romeo and Juliette-esque love affair involving two star players from the Bunnies and Roosters is just what this NRL season needs.

And don’t tell me there isn’t irrepressible lust in some of those more exuberant celebrations.

So this April I will be enjoying the show. Watching the waltz and surveying the samba. I’m not sure I even care who wins. In sport, as in life, it is often hard to tell who are the good and who are the bad guys. It is such a true and joyous reflection of our humanity that it is perhaps the greatest art form of them all.