Elzy Wellings: Athlete and Activist

It is no easy life being an elite 10,000m runner. One is under-paid and under-appreciated at least by the standards of global sports. A track runner can be anonymous for as good as four years, yet, on the Olympic stage, the athlete can become a star, on the minor proviso that she or he, wins…

The Blues of Short Suffering

I’m a Carlton supporter. Don’t hold it against me – I have other things happening in my life. I read novels, I have friends – many of whom aren’t into footy.  My experience of being a suffering football fan has been short-lived. We, the Navy Blues, only accept success in our narratives. Yet, something strange began to brew…

Outer Sanctum Podcast

The AFL is in a rush to be ‘inclusive’ and to be more representative of society. For so long Australian rules has been exemplary of the archetypal Aussie macho male. Tough, arrogant, abusive, crass. As Mike Sheahan said in his interview with the sport’s best investigative journalist, Caroline Wilson, “footy is a man’s game, everyone…

Soccer and the City

(An article of mine has been published in Sport and Society journal) Football fandom and sports culture are largely neglected in studies of Indonesia. This is despite the highly complex nature of football fandom in Indonesian cities. This essay draws on experiences in two cities in central Java: Yogyakarta and Solo. Contemporary football culture in…

Footballing Transitions

An Interview with Kenny Dougall, left-back of Sparta Rotterdam It wasn’t the game I expected it to be. I left home with the expectation of witnessing a 90minute-long celebration of Sparta’s successful season in the Jupiler League, which had seen them become Champions and earn automatic promotion to the Eredivisie. I saw their last game…

Un-Militarize My Football

Baseball is traditionally called America’s pastime, but it is the National Football League that has dominated the American consciousness for the better part of the past two decades and over the past fifty years has built its brand around the message that football and the American way of life are synonymous. Football is a blue-collar…

Approach with Caution

Following a football team, seriously and committedly, so often feels like a fruitless endeavour. For years, fans suffer in ignominy as their team under-performs and follows one losing season with another. Coaches get sacked on a presidential whim; promising players leave for better-run clubs; injuries strike down established stars. And then, when the good times,…

Footy Diplomacy

*Many fans of Australian rules football like to think of it as the world’s greatest game. Yet this grand assertion is often accompanied by an awareness that it is a professional sport, in only one, sparsely-populated country in which it competes directly against the rugby codes for interest during winter. The dominant administrative body of…

Love the Training

It’s getting late on Tuesday afternoon. It could be any Tuesday of any week of the year: coaching and training is relentless. There are always runners in our group, Love the Run, with events coming up and each race needs to be prepared for adequately. Each runner’s race needs to be given importance. Unlike team…

Reading Sideways