Between the ages of 4 and 13 years old, my family and I were located in Melbourne, Australia… With this came a growing passion for my family’s enjoyment of AFL and supporting the Carlton Football Club (aka the Blues). Almost every weekend, as a family we would travel into the city to watch and support our team. Over the years my love and passion for the sport blossomed as well as a new dad and daughter bonding experience. Through each season I found myself exposed to different audiences, which ranged from small crowds to full stadiums. At the age of 12, my family and I got to witness Carlton in an elimination final. The game was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the stadium holds approx. 100,000 people. 94,690 people filled into the MCG and the game was an experience I will never forget! Carlton versed the now premiership team Richmond (the Tigers) in a show-stopping game, but to my enjoyment, the Blues were able to kick the tigers out of the 2013 final series. The crowd size is the biggest I have ever been apart of. Let’s just say when a goal was scored the entire stadium would shake, and by the end, we walked out with no voice… to be excited was an understatement.
As a young supporter, you can be exposed to a range of people who can act in certain ways, especially in this setting. As many families like mine, they go and support their team, in which you would hope or expect that people would be respectful and thoughtful on how they act and speak around young children.
Of course, this isn’t the case. When I was younger going to these games, and still to this day, I am shown that people can get very aggressive, rude, and with an allowance of alcohol. This in effect can damage the whole atmosphere and ruin the whole experience for the audience. How supporters should be behaving in the crowd is definitely the main factor when I associate certain rules to the ‘audience’. Racism towards players is a large factor that comes out of the AFL, which follows along with just pure abuse towards them, the umpires and even coaching staff. The AFL crowds, along with many other sports have a certain amount of unspoken ‘rules’ which clearly just come from common sense and common decency. In recent times players themselves have addressed racism on the field, that comes from opposition teams supporters.
“Adam Goodes was again booed by Australian football fans at the weekend. While some misguided commentators have written this behaviour off as not being racially motivated, others are convinced that such abuse is a result of the Sydney Swans player’s outspoken
views on Aboriginal issues. I would argue that racist behaviour and assumptions are woven into the fabric of Australian football, alongside historical assumptions about what constitutes “Australianness”.” (Keith Parry, 2015)
This is unacceptable for this type of audience. Through this week’s lecture, this type of audience came to mind through active audiences, this connection shows how audiences can be critical and discriminating. Although the whole crowd is a part of the experience, it takes one individual to completely disobey the unspoken rules and challenges the whole nature of the audience.