- 14 February 2018
My favourite AFL satirist (okay, there may only be one!), Titus O’Reily wrote this really funny book which I read over the xmas break: A Thoroughly Unhelpful History of Australian Sport.
The book shows how sport in Australia has shaped industries, our media, the gambling industry, and where our taxpayer dollars go. I think sport - like music - has the potential to unite people who normally would never interact with each other. Think of when you’re in the crowd watching your favourite sportsperson take the best mark of the year, or kick the winning goal ON the siren! It’s just as wonderful as being in a stadium watching Lindsey Buckingham play one of his outstanding guitar solos, believe you me.
I’m on Titus’ mailing list & follow him on Twitter, and throughout the AFL season he writes some wonderfully amusing material. I was therefore very interested in the section on AFL, and open to learning new things about other Australian sport, though the cricket section was mighty trying… Titus focuses on cricket, rugby union, Australian Rules, rugby league, and soccer (what we call football with the round ball); other “irregular sports”, plus important areas including gambling, corruption, drugs, racism, sexuality, and how sportspeople are role models - whether or not they want to be - plus of course Australia’s competitiveness with England.
This book is part history, part social commentary, from one of the best sports writers in Australia, who asks, Can you not like sport and be Australian, when it’s the closest thing we have to a culture? Check it out!
Check out my reviews on Titus' other books: Please Gamble Irresponsibly + Cheat the Not-So Subtle Art of Conning Your Way to Sporting Glory