Every time I watch SBS news, when I accidentally press the wrong button on my remote control, I get depressed. The Middle East seems to be one troubled part of the world. Israel, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Birmingham; all of these places seem to have one recurring theme: young men killing other young men. As a lover of sports, there is nothing more tragic than seeing generations of potential sporting stars cut down by bloodshed and violence. For decades experts have endeavoured to pinpoint the cause of all this turmoil and governments have tried to solve it. Land, oil, access to water, and religion have all been cited as reasons for the near constant violence in the region. They are all wrong. The real culprit is soccer, and I propose AFL as the potential solution. Our visionary Prime Minister Tony Abbott needs to amalgamate the ministry of Sports with Foreign Affairs just as he brilliantly did with Industry and Science. This is because our current approach towards the Middle East – to send soldiers over there – is not working. Yes indeed we need “boots on the ground” as President Obama recently said, but I say they need to be footy boots, not standard army issue. We need to send gun blokes with Burleys over to the war torn regions of the Middle East, not burly blokes with guns.
Frustration Manifests Violence, and Nothing is More Frustrating than Soccer
Soccer is synonymous with frustration. For starters, it must be mightily frustrating that soccer forbids the use of your hands. The first love of most young boys is their own hand. Many frustrating days during adolescence could be relieved with a quick visit to Mrs Palmer and her five lovely daughters. Again, soccer boys are taught that using your hands is forbidden and consequently the pent up frustration builds until one day you descend into a murderous rage when the last item in your supermarket groceries needs a price check. In addition, nothing lets off a little steam for players and fans alike than celebrating a goal, but unfortunately in soccer it is interminably hard to score goals. Many exciting forward thrusts are disallowed by the terrible offside rule. Result? A frustrated mass of people who leave the arena and may decide to take out that frustration by tipping over a few police cars. If, instead, AFL was the sport of choice, players could enjoy the simple pleasure of a ball in their hands and there would be goals aplenty for supporters of both sides to cheer, letting that restless energy out in a much more peaceful manner. If you think this hard hitting sports journo is drawing a long bow, I present the Australian Aborigines as my evidence. They, like many in the middle east are a proud and ancient culture that has been trodden over by the power and influence of the west. They too are often the victims of prejudice and vilification. They also have their spiritual beliefs ignored, disrespected and insulted, such as when tourists routinely climb Uluru despite the requests of the local indigenous population that they don’t. But you never hear about constant indigenous sectarian violence. Why? Because Aboriginals take out their many frustrations by kicking bum on the football field. The Middle East needs a good dose of AFL to relieve their frustrations.
Soccer Encourages Violence
Some yank head doctor in the 1950’s called BF Skinner proved that our young can be easily “conditioned” to become predisposed to certain behaviours. Clearly this is at play here with soccer, condemning legions of young boys to a lifetime of violent behaviour. Firstly the ball is an unhelpful shape. As it is round, it bears a resemblance to the human head, therefore conditioning these kids to think that a head is something that should be violently assaulted. By contrast, an AFL football is red oval shaped object, not dissimilar to a woman’s labia, and the object of the game is to move it towards the four large erections at either end of the ground. This humble hard hitting journo submits this is a far healthier thing for young boys to be conditioned to do. Secondly, if a soccer player commits a gross act of violence on the pitch, far from being punished, they are actually rewarded by being given a shiny coloured card! To make matters worse, if the player collects enough of these cards, they are rewarded with an extended holiday. AFL on the other hand will rob players of the Brownlow medal even for tiny, innocuous, accidental head high contact. Thirdly, the two most popular soccer teams in the Middle East are English Premier League teams that have the provocative nicknames “The Red Devils” and “The Gunners”. The negative influence these terrible names must make on the easily influenced youth cannot be overstated. AFL have much more benign team nicknames, apart from the Essendon Bombers, they are the least liked team in the AFL, especially since the allegations of systemic abuse of banned substances were made. Finally, a tackle in soccer is a sliding kick into a player’s ankles. A tackle in AFL is a wrap around bear hug. Clearly AFL conditions boys to be lovers, whereas soccer conditions them to be fighters.
So if Tony Abbott was able to introduce AFL into the Middle East, I believe it would spread like wildfire, relieving the frustration, the violence and the heartache for all those living there. So Prime Minister, all you need to do is send Gazza into Gaza, and a Nobel Peace Prize is yours for the taking.
AFL in the Middle East: it’s a match made in heaven.