I read somewhere a quote made by a New York journalist when he described his travels through Australia in 1975. ‘Australia is obsessed with Rugby Union football and a fiendish development of the game evolved by themselves called Australian Rules. But the great Australian sport is drinking.’
The new federal government’s Alcohol code is set to change that. Will this be the end of Mad Monday and all those fabulous pub brawls that splash the front page of Sunday’s rags??
Six of Australia’s key sporting bodies have signed up to a National Alcohol Code of Conduct (as part of the Federal Government’s $53.5 million National Binge Drinking Strategy.
The Australian Football League, Netball Australia, Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia, soccer’s Football Federation Australia and the National Rugby League/Australian Rugby League have signed the code.
So I wonder what these $7.2 million dollar handcuffs are actually made of and if they are really going to curb drinking in sport. More importantly, if this code does manage to stop our sporting stars drinking – will it make a difference to the young people that look up to them as role models?
Drinking is intrenched in the culture of grassroots level at a young age. 30% of young people aged between 13 and 17 years, have drunk alcohol at a sporting club and 71% have never been asked for proof of age.
Then you have the whole issue of a rite of passage in clubs and societies. Is drinking an essential part of sport and sporting culture?
the drinking culture is jus as bad if not worse in other countries.. I was introduced to serious boozing when i played for sporting clubs overseas and not in Australia.. Drinking here is soft compared to countries such as England or Ireland. I don’t know why they’re complaining.
Great to see this blog coming along. Loving that little quote in reference to the game I love so much (rugby union). I have been playing the great game for seventeen years and I must say that at club level, (given that you are over the legal drinking age; or not…) it is the norm to get straight into a cold beer after the game. Now at first thought, this may seem harmless, but when you break it down, an ‘athlete’ who has exerted much energy, lost a large quantity of fluids and has probably not eaten a proper meal for a good five hours (including pre-game); can become much more susceptible to alcohol than that of a person at a hydrated, normal state. You may ask where i’m going with this. But take into account the first beer, followed by a compusury ‘boat race’*, and a few more beers to follow that, (keeping in mind it’s probably only 6pm), believe me, things get hazy quite quickly.
What i am saying is, it is difficult to play this sport and not drink. there are a few guys at our club that don’t and they are considered ‘wierd’. The same goes for mad monday.
* Boat race: Unsually consisting of 3 representatives from either rugby team, where members’ are made to scull their beer successively untill every drop of beer is consumed (or the remainder poured over the head), in a ‘relay race’ format.