Is discussion of AFL appropriate on this site? Well, yes . . . there is a spiritual link !
I’m originally from Melbourne, and just in case anyone is not aware, most Melbourne people of faith are actually syncretists. That is, they successfully fuse together their Christian beliefs with their devotion to their other ‘religion’.
It is quite common for the “after church” conversation in Melbourne to NOT be about the wonderful sermon just heard, but rather what happened at the MCG (the ‘temple’ of AFL) the day before.
It is ‘sort of’ in the blood of anyone born south of the Murrumbidgee River and west to Perth and surrounds.
It IS possible for a non-believer to be converted, but – be warned – such conversion can lead to fanatisicm and become costly as one accrues suitable objects in one’s selected team colours.
That said, I switched from a life of following Essendon from toodlerhood, to supporting the Sydney Swans when I moved to Sydney quite a few years ago. Used to attend regularly, but only causal now due to busyness – plus no fellow, like-minded followers to go with. (My Sydney friends simply don’t understand how wonderful AFL is!)
Many gay boys and girls follow AFL. Several AFL clubs have small coteries of gay supporters. (Google “Rainbow Swans”, “Pink Magpies”, etc.)
I even have a pair of my old AFL shorts at home – and they are from the days when we all wore very tight shorts. Doubt they would fit me now.
Compared with the other codes of football in Australia, AFL draws from the widest socio-economic and cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and from all genders.
Cheers – david