Just not a true sport believer

September 09, 2017

I may not be a native Victorian, but I think I fit in here pretty well most of the time.

I say most of the time, because my outsider status is confirmed whenever the subject of sport, especially AFL, comes up in the office.

I am one of those people that never took an interest in sport and in Victoria that is noticeable more than anywhere else in Australia.

I don’t really follow any sport and at best I could probably name two current AFL players.

My general ignorance of sport goes back a long way.

Sport was never a topic of conversation around the White dinner table when I was growing up.

And when it was time for sport back in school, a young Barclay would ‘‘conveniently’’ forget his sport clothes forcing me to be sent to the library for the period.

Which suited me just fine, as I was always happier with my head in a book than sweating it out on the sports oval.

I was that kid who would much rather be reading, playing video games or listening to music than watch some people kick a ball around a field for a few hours.

My aversion to sport suited me just fine in my native Western Australia and my later home of Queensland, because despite having a strong sports culture, it never reached next level like in Victoria.

When I moved here it felt like AFL was the state sanctioned religion.

Everyone in the office, even those you would least suspect of being a sports lover, has their chosen team.

Victoria is also the only state to offer two sport-specific public holidays, and the holy reverence offered to the Melbourne Cup and AFL grand final resembles something almost spiritual.

To avoid the endless questions about what team I support, I picked The Dockers as my team, more or less because I’m West Australian and purple is my favourite colour.

But I more or less just support The Dockers as a vague idea, I have not actually bothered to sit down and watch a game this season. Apparently they did not do that great this season anyway.

And now as we hit finals season I feel like more of an outsider than ever.

People wear their team colours proudly like they are in the Bloods or the Crips, sing absurd team songs, and bet crazy amounts of money on which team kicks more balls between two poles.

Perhaps one day I will get into it if I live here long enough. But with the religion of sport, I guess I am still an atheist.

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