Monday, September 18, 2006
If you've heard of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, or Michael Jordan, you've got some idea of what Australians think of Ron Barassi. Even though the news of the past week has all been about the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, and his media-circus televised funeral, Ron Barassi is never out of the news. Just look at a few of these search results from Google News:
Footy legend Ron Barassi … it's not every day Ron Barassi comes to town … Barassi was the legend … AFL legend Ron Barassi says … affair began when he saw Ron Barassi play … water-walking Ron Barassi … how much torture can a man take, wondered Ron Barassi … AFL legend Ron Barassi, a patron of Melbourne … I was there three weeks after Ron Barassi… Melburnian of the Year Ron Barassi … Ron Barassi revolutionised the game … identities nvolved in the station were Ron Barassi … October's Barassi Cup in Canberra … Carlton went on to win following Ron Barassi's half-time exhortation … action-packed 70th birthday year for Ron Barassi …
You get the idea. Australian football is just like American football, except you can understand the rules in the Australian version and Oz footy players don't chicken out by wearing body armor onto the field. And the fans are just as fanatical, and if there was ever a man who could be called "THE' legend of the game, it's Ron.
Now Australian footy grew up in Melbourne. In fact, for many years the Victorian Football League, or VFL, was the only place in the country you could see it played at anything like professional level. That was Ron's heyday. But time moves on, and other states began to field their own teams, then their teams began to actually be reasonably good. They've improved so much in fact that this year, none of the Victorian teams made it to the Finals. Ron Barassi wants an Official Inquiry into why. Well Ron, legend or not, I'm afraid I'm going to burst your bubble here and save the fans a lot of money here by telling you the answer before the Inquiry even starts. The fact is, they just weren't good enough! That's it, no need to look further. A series of round-robin games was held as usual, in a totally fair way, and all of the Victorian teams lost. You need to look down at your jumper, mate, and notice that it says AFL now not VFL. The League has been the Australian Football League for a while now, and it's inevitable that the number of Victorian teams will go down and that other states will win. Personally, I reckon it's pointless having teams for Fitzroy, Essendon and Carlton, for example, if none of the players in those teams are from those areas anyway! Get over it, Ron. I'd like to see every single Victorian team retired and replaced by a single Victorian team. Maybe then, with the best players from all those useless little clubs, you might have a chance of making the Finals again.
Ron Barassi Website