On my first Saturday night, we decided to go we a Australian Rules Football game – “footie”. All I remember from when it was on ESPN in the 1980s is the signal for a goal by a guy in a white outfit. It seems many people have the same, and only, recollection. We picked Richmond vs St. Kilda as a) it was the game being played and b) it was in the Melbourne Cricket Grounds which is one of the most famous stadiums in the world. It was a home game for Richmond (they are not the Greyhounds) which is located nearby but St. Kilda is also in Melbourne so it was a derby.
Great, family friendly atmosphere. Good seats were affordable, beer was $6, and fans from both teams sat together – no separation (like the EPL) nor fights (like the NFL). Stadium was only about 60% full – but capacity is 100,000. It was also my first opportunity to think about picking a AFL team (Aussie Football League). A couple of criteria:
1 – Are they any good? Richmond traditionally better, but St. Kilda ahead in the standings.
2 – Local connection. Richmond closer to where I will be working
3 – Colors – Richmond was the bumble bee motif like the Pittsburgh Steelers (a big negative) and St. Kilda was traditional red, black, and white.
4 – Of course, there are several other Melbourne teams I need to consider…such as the North Melbourne Shinboners.
The game has a lot of action and the field is huge – a 150 yard oval (like cricket) and they have 18 playing per side at a time. St. Kilda was up 24-1, you get 6 points for a goal 1 point for just missing in the side uprights, before Richmond mounted a come back to eventually win. Right before halftime it started to pour and unfortunately we were in a space where we weren’t covered. We made a quick escape to an Uber and were back to the hotel within 15 minutes.
I was encouraged to check out the “suburbs” which are only about 5 miles from the CBD and Port Melbourne was mentioned. So I jumped on a tram and headed in that direction. I got off at the end of the tram and was on the beach of Port Phillip Bay in a residential area – so I started a walk on the bay path and saw signs for St. Kilda – so I started the 3 mile walk there. Very nice, a bit of a combination of Bournemouth and LaJolla. I then took the tram back and it looks like 20-25 minutes door-to-door to the office from St. Kilda – so St. Kilda could be a potential as a place to live when Sharon arrives as well as being the Footie club of choice.