July 18, 2013

Horse 1514 - I Could Care Less About Rugby League (it is possible)

Last night (17th July) there was a State of Origin Rugby League match in which one group of players beat another group of players in one of the greatest contests of ALL TIME; at least until the next one.
I must confess I could care less. That is, in terms of empirical units of care, my ability to give less of them is physically possible.
I say this advisedly because if you were living in SA, Tas, NT or WA, not even Channel 9 was convinced that those people cared as much as I do, which admittedly wasn't a lot; in those states they preferred to put "Customs", "RPA" and "The Big Bang Theory" on 9 whilst the throwball was relegated to their second channel Gem. I would suspect that the people of those states honestly couldn't care less; that is that in terms of empirical units of care, their ability to give less of them would in fact be physically impossible.

I for one think that the stance of the nation as a whole is probably right about this. It's curious that the State of Origin matches probably are the highest level of the game. It's understandable as the only two other nations who play the game with any real skill, like the other states in Australia don't really care about it either.
Great Britain pays more attention to football and Rugby and New Zealand positively flagellates itself if the All Blacks do not win every single Rugby series they play. As for Australia, if the Kangaroos lose, we don't call it a "national disgrace"; in fact most people don't really care, that even goes for people who actually like throwball.

The United States learnt from England and then perfected the art of inventing sports that no-one else wants to play. Arguably the NFL's Superbowl is the world's biggest single one day sporting event. People will often drive across the country for days, just to have a barbecue in the parking lot of the stadium; even if they don't even have tickets!
America does such a good job at making people care, that even people from other countries care about the match - even the adverts.
Australia does a bad job in comparison. When the Sydney Swans lifted the AFL Premiership flag, they were treated to a ticker tape parade, whereas if say the Parramatta Worms won the Rugby League shield thing, they'd most likely at best win a presentation at Westfield (and maybe win some pretzels or something).

In terms of raw numbers, even Australia beating Iraq to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, racked up higher ratings than the State of Origin matches.
It's telling that Melbourne's Herald-Sun, the Adelaide Advertiser and the West Australian are all carrying stories about the Essendon AFL Coach, James Hird, rather than fill their back pages with the result of the throwball.
I must admit though, that I do find it amusing that after a State of Origin match, the same copy writers will write pieces for both the Courier-Mail in Brisbane and the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. These are the people who have truly been divorced from their own amount of care. To be able to write something praising and then turn around and write something deriding the same thing is a rare skill.
Maybe it is these people who truly couldn't care less, or maybe they're just good at disguising that care.

In the end, one team did beat the other by some amount of points, or ended on the same amount of points; in which case it was a draw and the series was tied. Surely in one of the greatest contests of ALL TIME (at least until the next one) that's something worth caring about isn't it? Except that that's too much effort.

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