Hot City – Cool Times: Melbourne – Part III
Welcome back for another installment of our Melbourne city mini-series. As mentioned before I believe Melbourne is a great destination and wanted to explore in more depth some of the many different facets as to why this is a great travel destination.
Live Sporting Events
This city is considered the sporting capital of country, and when it comes to sports you will be hard-pressed to find more loyal team fans. I have never been a sports fanatic, but there is something to be said about attending any live sporting event, and one in which there are such ardent fans.
For example, my idea of the game of cricket was that it is a watered-down version of baseball and would be as unappealing to watch as watching reruns of the Golden Girls TV program. This is especially true as sometimes these matches last several days! However, when my friend dragged me to a match between Australia and India I found myself immersed in the most energetic and lively bunch of people. The playing on the field was only part of the ambiance, the other half was the people who seemed to have a chant for everything, including when a gentleman was escorted from his seat a few rows ahead for showing signs of intoxication. The chant was not even really about him more so than the young lady he left dateless. It was all in good spirits and this was the most exciting sporting event I have been to to date. Even if you don’t know any of the rules of cricket, there is ALWAYS someone willing to explain during the game even if it’s some random bloke next to you who just was reminding the referee how his prescription glasses need updating.
Another great sporting event that is great to attend is the annual kickoff to the Grand Slam tennis tournaments with the Australian Open in January. This truly is a fine-tuned event where you have pavilions, and schedules and everything under the (hot summer) sun. The cool thing here is when you see these tennis icons walking around the grounds it can feel like you are walking amongst rock stars from the reaction of the general public, and in a sense they are.
Formula One Racing. I have heard someone tell me before that if you’ve never shot a gun you don’t know what you are missing in the sense that it is a unique experience to feel the power of a firearm when shooting it. I still have never shot a gun, for better or worse, but I can understand that analogy having gone to a Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix race. The morning I went it had just rained, and I remember sitting by the track seeing a rooster tail of water spray quick approaching as these cars were screaming around corners. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. You can feel the raw power of those engines permeate through to your soul, and for this reason would recommend investing in some ear plugs. However, it’s definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in Melbourne in the mid-March time frame.
If you ever find yourself in Australia during their Footy Season, it would be a disservice to your trip if you did not attend a footy game. Australian Rules Football, known as footy, is nothing like our version of football, and even more different from Europe or South America’s version of futbol. The action in a footy game is non-stop, with a continuous movement of these giants on the field who aren’t wearing any pads. They refer to our version of football as “cross-country wrestling”. Again, half the action is taking place on the field while the other half is in the crowds. You will be hard pressed to find more loyal and die hard fans.
So, if you happen to find yourself in Melbourne, do yourself a favor and make a point to make it to some kind of professional sporting event, even if you are not a “sports nut”. Part of visiting another place and culture is experiencing what the locals do, whether you are in Siberia or Melbourne. This is sure to be a great time and give you a good glimpse of what this place to offer that other cities in Australia don’t.