We hadn't been advised of this law as we crossed the border, though perhaps a preparation package should be handed to those who dare take the challenge to move to the southern lands of our country, somewhat close to Antarctic waters.
The 'unwritten law'
Now, what is this law you may ask? Is it that one must carry a snow jacket in the boot no matter what time of year it is? Or is it that you must know off by heart every good coffee within a 50km radius of the CBD? No. The above mentioned are advisable but this unwritten law is more of a means to survival.
It is that one must back an Australian Rules football team (if you don't already), and follow, support, cheer and dress in the team colours from April –September…till death do us part.
It was more of a gradual discovery of this as the months went by during our first year, until we found ourselves in AFL grand final week 2012. We were regularly asked who we were going for. I had no idea who was even playing in the final! So, as a loving mother to my three boys, I decided it would be best to help them fit into this new state and begin some 'Victorianisation'.
Braving the parade
I loaded our 3 young boys onto the train, a storm raging outside, bound for the Grand Final Parade. Apparently normal attendance of such events is 100,000, a fact I was unaware of as we boarded the train. And it was probably that moment when we, as a new Victorian family, were forced to toe the line and conform to the unwritten law. Follow a team or else.
The train was PACKED. Overflowing with Swans and Hawks supporters, with a loud buzz of excitement, I looked at my wide eyed children and said, "Quick…we need to choose a team!" They chose the team with the picture of the 'hawk' and we somehow survived the crowds of the parade, cheering and yelling because everyone else was.
A truly memorable day as it was on Friday this year (2013) and I'm sure we'll be back on the train next year for the Parade once again. I am rather amazed about how quickly the culture of this southern state has rubbed off on us. The history of this sport here is very long and ingrained.
I have no reservations about encouraging our children to be AFL supporters or players if they want to be. Living in a country area the pull is even greater, with Ablett's home turf just up the road.
As the boys grow up and play and watch whatever sport they choose our prayer as parents is that their passion for God will be noticed first and will rub off on others first and foremost.
Mark 12 verses 30-31 says to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves. This is THE commandment written to us and no matter where we live this should be our priority and the culture we live for. Everything else is secondary.
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html