I love Melbourne and I'm rather fond of Australia, as it happens, on the grounds that it's just like New Zealand except for when it's really, really not.
One of the things I really love about Melbourne is that nobody follows rugby there -- everybody's into Australian Rules Football, aka "rules" or "footy".
How much are Melbournians into their footy? The first time I visited, I found myself with a bit of free time and had a look through a local paper. The page headed "Religion" held... the footy results.
Last Friday night I found myself in my hotel room with very little inclination to go out, and that Melbournian phenomenon, Friday Night Footy, on the TV. Collingwood vs Essendon, one of the great grudge matches between two famous teams. (Hell, even I've heard of them, and I'm a New Zealander.)
So I watched the game.
All of it.
All two hours of it.
Why, you ask?
Well, there are 22 reasons per team, each in superb physical shape, wearing singlet tops and tiny shorts. And doing a lot of running and jumping and kicking. Seriously, what's not to like.
And it's different enough from rugby that I was riveted for the whole time, trying to work out how the game play went. No, really. I watched for the game play. As well.
Interestingly, every single Australian I talked to about it said "That was a crap game!" I don't know enough about how the game works to know whether it was crap or not. It was entertaining, and I'd like to see more of it.
And not just for the singlet tops and tiny shorts.