Study abroad student watches Australian game of footy, tastes local cuisine

Erica Hamman, junior in biology, and friend at the footy game in Victoria, Australia. The game, which is similar to American football, is a popular sport in Australia.

Hello again! Now that I am getting more accustomed to Australia and its citizens, I have come to realize that this country, as a whole, is “sports mad.” One sport that I was not even aware existed before coming here is “Australian rules football” or “footy” as the locals call it. In the state of Victoria it is the most popular sport. It slightly resembles American football. Luckily, I was able to go to a footy game and experience this different, but still widely-loved, sport.

Footy takes place on a circular field and has four posts that the players can kick the ball through for different amounts of points. The fans were decked out in sports merchandise and were just as crazy for their teams as Americans are for American sports.

The game we went to featured the Hawthorn Hawks and Collingwood Magpies. I decided to support the Hawthorn Hawks and even bought a scarf since they were so popular. The game itself lasts for 100 minutes and is very fast-paced. There are not really timeouts or stops in the game, and even if a player fumbles the ball, other players on the team pick it up and run with it.

While I was at the game, I indulged in a meat pie, which is a popular dish in Australia. The name describes exactly what it is — a pie of meat. I was also surprised to see that during the halftime performance, instead of a dance or cheerleading routine, children came out to play a short round of footy to pass the time.

Overall, it was an eye-opening experience. It made me appreciate the similarities and differences between Australia and the United States in regard to sports and the culture in general.

Erica Hamman is a junior in biology. Please send comments to