Besides being asked the question "Do you like Vegemite?" (I find that I do, spread very thin on buttered toast but not every morning), one of the most unique aspects of Australian culture I've come into frequent contact these past 3 weeks in WA is "Australian Rules" football.
Two weeks ago I chose to go for an afternoon walk rather than watch most of the AFL Grand Final. That was mainly because I didn't have a clue when it came to understanding the game. After all, I'll always be first and foremost a diehard NFL fan. Needless to say, the streets were nearly empty as everyone else in Kalgoorlie was glued to their TV sets.
However, yesterday afternoon, the couple I've been staying with this past week here in Perth, Russell and Coralie, provided me with a unique opportunity. Russell, an avid player and fan, first showed me DVD highlights of marks, long bombs, other goals, etc. Then last night, I went with them to watch an Old Timers' Exhibition Game.
There we saw Russell's 48 year-old brother, a retired AFL multi-millionaire player, who played for the the West Coast Eagles, battle against their foes the Fremantle Dockers.
We also saw Rick Arden, a newsreader and amateur player, participate in the game. In spite of the fact that Rick stands at about 6 feet four inches, Russell joked that he had bested Rick in their own veterans' competition 3 months ago ("he'd never score a goal like that on me, ha ha!).
Although this entry is on Aussie Rules, let me also say here that I thoroughly appreciated the chance to observe and participate in what God is doing in Russell's church. Russell and Coralie spent several years as Alliance Workers in Vanuatu in the South Pacific prior to returning to Perth (Coralie was an MK whose parents worked with aboriginals), where God led them to start the church. The meeting on Sunday was lively and truly a pleasure to participate in.
After the church meeting, we enjoyed the traditional Australian meringue desert Pavlova (another new experience for me), had gourmet pizza at an Italian restaurant, and tea (Australian term for dinner or supper) that night after the match at an outdoor steak/hamburger joint by a roaring fire.