Thinker in Residence Blog

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The Other NFL

Posted by peggyhora on August 30, 2009

On   I went to my first “footy” game.  (The Australians have a fondness for diminutives — “footy,” “lolly,” “pokie,” etc.)  A juvenile crime prevention/mentoring program for Aboriginal boys and girls couples academic benchmarks with playing football.  The program, called the Aboriginal Power Cup, is in its second year and has already had an effect on high school drop out rates.  Stars from the National Football League show up to encourage the kids as well.  The rules of the game include kicking goals but no passing.  They must hit the leather football with their fist rather like playing volleyball.  And they wear no padding.  Evidently being injured is just part of the game.  They do, thankfully, wear mouthpieces for protection.  The kids design their own “guernseys” (jerseys) and there is fierce competition to have yours chosen for the first prize.  The Attorney General Department is a major sponsor and the AG himself was a referee referred to as a “White Maggot.”  They had great fun trying to explain that one to me.  As they say in the travel itineraries, the rest of my day was at leisure and doing household chores.  Sunday I’m off to the Rundle Mall and am going to dinner with Pamela, my project officer, and her husband and son who is a law student.

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