Australian Sports

Sport in Australian SocietyAustralian people’s lives are greatly affected by sport. In Australia, mostpeople will either participate in sport or watch sport, wether it at thearena or on television, what ever you do it would be hard not be caught upin all the hype surrounding sport. A lot of people will participate onweekends at a social level, but some people will play representative sport,that is the reason that many Australians have come to think of themselvesas a great sporting nation. It is these ideas that have allowed Australianathlete’s to become world champions.People participate in sport not only for the physical values but the valuesof team sprit, sportsmanship, relaxation and for some financial rewards.

Sport is – one or more people competing against another team or individualto see who will win. Sport also is – a game played at a non-competitivelevel. Some people however believe that competitive sport causesnarrow-mindedness or that winning and competition lead to individualism andselfishness. Sport is open to people of any age or race.

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Anyone canparticipate in sport, however as you get older you may be limitedphysically to the amount or sport you play. Some other limitations may bethe resources available, your age, your time available or the costsinvolved. A survey was said to be conducted by the courier mail titled,”Yes, We Really Are Sports Mad”. The survey had the following results, 88%people in capital cities play sport with 1 in every 2 of those peopletaking part in at least four sports a week. Swimming was seen to be thefavourite sport among participants with tennis, fishing, snooker and poolclose behind. Also in this survey it was said 2 out of 3 Australians thatlive in capital cities will go to at least one sporting match a year.The reason a large number of Australian lives are affected by sport isbecause you hear about it every day, wether it be on the radio, in anewspaper or on television.

The Courier-Mail devotes a section of the paperjust to sport and so does the news services. On Foxtel and Galaxy there aretwo sports channels and on Optus Vision there are three. On the AM radiostations, there will be three or four minutes every half hour on sport.

Alarge section of the media is devoted to the broadcast of sport – everybodyhad herd before they arrived home from school or work on Monday the 8th ofSeptember that Patrick Rafter had won the singles tittle at the AmericanOpen tennis championship, this is an example of how fast the media spreadsnews about Australian sporting stars.Anyone between the ages of 16 and 65 will watch some sport on televisionduring the year. Cricket is the most watched sport on TV although tennis,Rugby League, Australian Rules Football, Motor Racing and Basketball alsodraw large crowds (‘Yes, we really are sports mad’. The Courier-Mail).

Results were poled in 1987, stating that watching television was anAustralians’ favourite pastime. Informal sport was 9th on the results poledand organised sport was 11th (See Table 1, Appendix). During an inquiry in1992, it found that substantial numbers of teenage girls were quittingsport (Williams, Peter, Health and Physical Education, 1995). In Victoria,during the 70’s the government recognised the inclination in”spectatoritis” – people were spending more time watching sport on TV thanparticipating themselves (Williams, 1995: 103). In 1975, a large proportionof the people of Victoria were asked the question – do you feel yourphysical fitness to be important? With the majority believing theirphysical fitness to be important, but not willing to do anything about it. At the Atlanta Olympics, Australians were recognised not only individuallybut also as a country that they were a force in sport not to reckoned with.This was demonstrated in the 1500m men’s freestyle, when Kieren Perkins,who no one thought would win came back from what seemed were unsurmountableodds and won.

Perkins received a second reward for his 1500m performancewith the honour of being named Australian sportsman of the year. Kathy Wattwas also rewarded with the honour of sportswoman of the year, for herefforts in the Olympics, namely cycling. If Australia sends performers likethis to the following Olympic’s in Sydney and Athens, Australia shouldcontinue winning medals. Without a doubt I think that it is clear to say that sport plays a majorrole in the Australian society. I think that it is also safe to say thatthe television viewers of the sport are ever increasing and so are theattendances at the venues – a crowd of 70 000 people is expected at a gameAussie Rules. The participation in sport is declining with many peopledropping out at school. Programs are always being introduced to try andremedy the increasing loss of participation in sport such as Women In Sportprogram, which is designed pacifically to encourage the need for women insport. The participation levels in sport are unsure but Australians willnever forget the good times of not only winning but the enjoyment of sport.

AppendixTable 1Bibliography1.Williams, Peter (1995).Health and Physical Education.

South Melbourne:Moreton Bay Publishing.2.Entwistle, Theodore R. (1978). General Knowledge Encyclopedia. London:Octopus Books Limited.By Ryan B