In a bored moment at home while watching Sri Lanka demolish an Australian team denuded of talent due to their ill-advised policy to “rest” key players, I wandered onto this government webpage.
Some statistics gathered on participation and viewing of sport in Australia.
Here’s an interesting summary of how many people physically attend sports events;
Australian Rules football (16%)
Horse racing (11%)
Rugby league (9%)
Motor sports (8%)
Soccer (outdoor; 5%)
Cricket (outdoor; 4%)
Interesting and a little sobering. Rugby Union doesn’t even get onto the list. I’m not surprised about cricket being low on the list though; the few times I’ve put the TV on and not been quick enough to change it over from the Pathetic Kid’s Version of the Game, I’ve been shocked at how few are in the grounds. Test matches and ODIs are slightly better attended but only for the key games (i.e. not Sri Lanka versus a b-selection Australia).
A few days ago I posted a stolen graphic that showed the numbers of registered rugby players by country. What I didn’t explain was that the small circle within each larger circle was the adult males registered in each country. Have a look at Australia; the proportion of adult male players is huge compared to the total. What this tells me, coupled with the attendance figures, is that Rugby Union is a dying sport here. They are losing the kids to AFL, NRL and Poof-ball.
Which means that my celebration of a British and Irish Lions series victory this year will be somewhat pyrrhic.
And here’s the confession:
Let’s assume I’ve played rugby from the age of 8 years old and stopped when I was 40, there were 25 weeks in the season and two training evenings a week. It generally took me 10 minutes to get changed at either end of the training session or on match day.
Then I have spent 16 elapsed days of my life naked in the company of other naked men.
I think it’s best to not dwell on that thought any longer.