Sport in Australian Society

Australian people's lives are greatly affected by sport. In Australia, most

people will either participate in sport or watch sport, wether it at the

arena or on television, what ever you do it would be hard not be caught up

in all the hype surrounding sport. A lot of people will participate on

weekends at a social level, but some people will play representative sport,

that is the reason that many Australians have come to think of themselves

as a great sporting nation. It is these ideas that have allowed Australian

athlete's to become world champions.

People participate in sport not only for the physical values but the values

of team sprit, sportsmanship, relaxation and for some financial rewards.

Sport is - one or more people competing against another team or individual

to see who will win. Sport also is - a game played at a non-competitive

level. Some people however believe that competitive sport causes

narrow-mindedness or that winning and competition lead to individualism and

selfishness. Sport is open to people of any age or race. Anyone can

participate in sport, however as you get older you may be limited

physically to the amount or sport you play. Some other limitations may be

the resources available, your age, your time available or the costs

involved. A survey was said to be conducted by the courier mail titled,

"Yes, We Really Are Sports Mad". The survey had the following results, 88%

people in capital cities play sport with 1 in every 2 of those people

taking part in at least four sports a week. Swimming was seen to be the

favourite sport among participants with tennis, fishing, snooker and pool

close behind. Also in this survey it was said 2 out of 3 Australians that

live in capital cities will go to at least one sporting match a year.

The reason a large number of Australian lives are affected by sport is

because you hear about it every day, wether it be on the radio, in a

newspaper or on television. The Courier-Mail devotes a section of the paper

just to sport and so does the news services. On Foxtel and Galaxy there are

two sports channels and on Optus Vision there are three. On the AM radio

stations, there will be three or four minutes every half hour on sport. A

large section of the media is devoted to the broadcast of sport - everybody

had herd before they arrived home from school or work on Monday the 8th of

September that Patrick Rafter had won the singles tittle at the American

Open tennis championship, this is an example of how fast the media spreads

news about Australian sporting stars.

Anyone between the ages of 16 and 65 will watch some sport on television

during the year. Cricket is the most watched sport on TV although tennis,

Rugby League, Australian Rules Football, Motor Racing and Basketball also

draw large crowds ('Yes, we really are sports mad'. The Courier-Mail).

Results were poled in 1987, stating that watching television was an

Australians' favourite pastime. Informal sport was 9th on the results poled

and organised sport was 11th (See Table 1, Appendix). During an inquiry in

1992, it found that substantial numbers of teenage girls were quitting

sport (Williams, Peter, Health and Physical Education, 1995). In Victoria,

during the 70's the government recognised the inclination in

"spectatoritis" - people were spending more time watching sport on TV than

participating themselves (Williams, 1995: 103). In 1975, a large proportion

of the people of Victoria were asked the question - do you feel your

physical fitness to be important? With the majority believing their

physical fitness to be important, but not willing to do anything about it.

At the Atlanta Olympics, Australians were recognised not only individually

but also as a country that they were a force in sport not to reckoned with.

This was demonstrated in the 1500m men's freestyle, when Kieren Perkins,

who no one thought would win came back from what seemed were unsurmountable

odds and won. Perkins received a second reward for his 1500m performance

with the honour of being named Australian sportsman of the year. Kathy Watt

was also rewarded with the honour of sportswoman of the year, for her

efforts in the Olympics, namely cycling. If Australia sends performers like

this to the following Olympic's in Sydney and Athens, Australia should

continue winning medals.

Without a doubt I think that it is clear to say that sport plays a major

role in the Australian society. I think that it is also safe to say that

the television viewers of the sport are ever increasing and so are the

attendances at the