There’s a lot of things in this world that I don’t understand. Currently at the forefront of that long and varied list, is the fact that we have a public holiday for the football grand final. A day off (unless you’re me or anyone else that has to work today) for a sporting event. This is the world we’re living in.
As a non interested party whenever anything sport related is involved, I am already predisposed to find the concept of a football public holiday somewhat ridiculous. But this is particularly baffling to me. We as a society have a tendency to glorify sporting personalities, and I must confess, I’m not entirely sure why. Ok, so they train and hone their skills and they’re good at what they do. And though I don’t understand the appeal of watching men chase each other around a ground wearing little shorts, I understand that there are significantly large portions of the population that find it entertaining.
But on the flipside of that, I have spent nearly two years training and honing my skills, and I am good at what I do. Where’s my public holiday? Well, there is none, because that would be ridiculous. So why a public holiday for football? The game will always fall on a Saturday, so it’s not like it’s interrupting the ‘working week’. And if people are concerned that anyone rostered on on a Sunday will turn up to work hungover, well that’s inevitable. A public holiday (the day before the game no less) is going to make approximately no difference to that.
Now some will argue that we have a public holiday for a horse race, so why not a football game. And my answer is that the Melbourne Cup holiday is equally pointless. A large number of the people who attend the Cup are not there to watch the race. They are there to get dressed up and parade around drunkenly. Supporters of football argue that the public holiday is a day to spend with their families. But I genuinely believe that the more likely reason is so they can just have a day off, whether they spend it with their families or not.
I don’t get on board the whole thing, and not just because it doesn’t apply to me and my complete lack of interest in football. It’s yet another way we put sports people on a pedestal. I mean, they’re being athletic, not curing cancer. But hey, let’s give football a public holiday anyway. I just don’t get it.
Edit: it was brought to my attention that the reason for the public holiday is to give people a day off during the later part of the year, since there aren’t really any during that period. It has something to do with a promise made by the Premier, who, uncharacteristically of a politician, is actually following through on a promise made. Go figure.