Now that the dust has settled, and the Winter Olympics are over for another four years, we can turn our attention to far more important sports—well, perhaps to many Australians, anyway—and the approach of Aussie Rules season.
It seems to start earlier every year, with pre-season conjecture merging into news from training camps, draft rumours giving way to warm-up games and the NAB Cup, until finally we get to the home and away season. Then, before we know it, it’s time for finals, and then the cycle starts all over again.
Here in Victoria, news stories about player trades or rules changes are given front-page coverage. They find a level of significance beyond the sporting world, and are treated as matter of public interest. It creates a perception that everyone sees it as just as important as we do, but that’s not really the case.
For the past few years, I’ve attended an event held in the ACT that runs over the AFL Grand Final weekend. While back in Melbourne the whole city comes to a standstill and almost everyone turns their focus to the game, in Canberra you’d barely know it was on—it’s not the type of footy that matters up there!
That’s just across state borders, but when you get out into the wider world, AFL is barely a blip on the sporting radar. Even the closest thing we have to a truly national sport, cricket, only matters to a select group of countries and baffles a fair chunk of sporting fans outside of them. Not that it’s just us that do this, the United States has a number of world championships that don’t involve the rest of the world at all.
Of course, this goes far beyond sports. It’s a very human thing to get caught up in our own world, and lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s easy to forget that other people might have different priorities, and what seems vitally important to us might not to them. It doesn’t mean what we care about doesn’t matter, just that we can’t always expect people to feel the same.
When we take a moment to see things from a different perspective, it can allow us to appreciate things better, and see things that we are oblivious to, or take for granted. When we can’t understand why someone might be getting so worked up about something that seems so unimportant to us—whether that’s a sport that doesn’t excite us or some world issue—realising they might feel the same way about it as we do about our own passions can make us far more understanding.