Not only is summer heating up but so are the summer sports of football, cricket and tennis – and the competition for hearts and minds.
CEO of Football Federation Australia, David Gallop, issued a congratulatory media statement over the weekend to tell us that more Australians than ever before are watching the A-League – with TV viewers, crowds at game, club memberships and “digital audiences” all showing an increased of between 12-46% over last season.
“Whether it’s on TV, online or at our venues, more Australians are engaged with the Hyundai A-League than any time in the competition’s eight-year history,” trumpeted Gallop.
In case we didn’t realise it, he said the growth was a tribute to the clubs, players, coaches, members and fans.
Not to be outdone, the Commonwealth Bank issued a statement saying that backyard cricket is the nation’s favourite summer game with more than 21 million games of backyard cricket played over the summer. One in three of us play backyard cricket on Christmas Day, more than a quarter of us on Australia Day and about one in ten on ANZAC Day.
For those who have participated in such matches over the years, it may not be a surprise to learn that 25% of backyard matches involve a dispute over the rules and 20% ending prematurely because of a disagreement over the rules.
Queenslanders are revealed as the most relaxed of backyard cricketers as the least likely to have any arguments, while South Australians and Western Australians are most likely to get in a huff about it.
With more than 133 rules and clauses in the official game, Cricket Australia has devised an official Rules of Backyard Cricket with 13 simple – and hopefully undisputable – rules and clauses. The first rule? The game has to be played between two teams of an equal number of players. And one that has certainly caused an argument in games we've played over the years - rule number 12: if a pet catches the ball, you're out. This is a great rule when you've got an athletic cross-kelpie who is happy to run and catch the ball all day!
Around the country, tennis players are playing in warm-up tournaments for the first of the 2013 Grand Slams, the Australian Open, starting next Monday in Melbourne.
For further information on the summer of sport, visit:
To download the Rules of Backyard Cricket, and for a chance to host a game of backyard cricket with the Australian team OR win a trip to the Ashes in England later this year, head to www.lovecricket.com.au
And if football, cricket and tennis are not your thing, there’s always the beach!