As the sports capital of Australia, the pursuit of excellence in sport is something that Melbournians highly value. From the Australia Open to the Melbourne Cup and Presidents Cup, Melbourne is never without the next big championship around the corner. In fact, it is a well-known tradition for first time visitors in Melbourne to have the sports culture inculcated into them as a rite of passage. In fact, many of the conversations usually start with the AFL, another one of Melbourne’s proud football legacy.
Indeed, this cultural lifestyle is strongly ingrained in the daily lives of Melbournians and this time around, we bring ourselves right into the crowd and ask them more on their favourite sports. This time, we scour around the streets of Melbourne, cold call some folks for a quick chat and ask them more about their favourite exercise to see just how actively healthy Melbournians truly are. Here are some of the participants whom we interviewed along the way:
When asked what his favourite sport is, David did not hesitate to pick tennis as his answer. “My favourite sport will have to be tennis. While I do not play it competitively or as often as some people, I still find that it is a good stress reliever and offers me the perfect balance between competition and fun. Plus, I can also play a single and double match with my friends so it allows me to focus on my own individual ability or in cooperating with a fellow teammates. Either way, tennis is the perfect sport if you want the flexibility between personal training or a cooperative play.” Currently studying for his Bachelor degree in Applied Science (Property and Valuation), he is also looking forward to watching the 2020 Australian Open and maybe the Wimbledon Championship too. Sporting a generous smile, he further explained that playing tennis is “mostly to kill time. So it is more of a casual hobby for me than a serious one.” Even as his study load gets tougher and more hectic each semester, he always finds the time to play and treat himself to a good tennis session.
As fellow Indonesians, badminton is part of our cultural identity. Coming down to watch and support our national team in the World Badminton Championship has become an annual event that brings us together. For Raymond, badminton goes beyond watching the game. “I started playing badminton ever since I arrived in Melbourne and it has been one of the best decision I have ever made!” His passion also drove him to join the Melbourne Smasher community. “Every week, we have a get-together and we play together at MSAC. It’s a great chance to mingle and get to know new friends. Aside from the chance to mingle, playing in a community also allows you to improve better because your fellow teammates are looking out for you. They could provide you with various feedbacks on how to improve your form, technique and steps. Even better, they offer you someone to play with and you can gauge your ability in accordance to your opponent while you observe their different playing style” It was also a pleasant coincidence that he was actually on his way to the training when interviewed. As the interview concluded, he grabbed his bag and made his way to his favourite past time of the week.
Born in Iraq and now the beautiful mother of 3 lovely children, Valantina recalled how she enjoyed table tennis when she was younger. She is now a full-time mother and a dedicated education counsellor and she admitted to occasionally entertaining the thought of picking up table tennis again. She said that she has always wanted her own table tennis set but unfortunately, had not been able to do so due to her job and domestic responsibility. “Even if I do purchase my own table tennis set, I will be the only one playing it. So most the time, it will go unused. Even then, I still have my domestic responsibility to take care of so I reckon I might not be able to play too often even with a table tennis set in the house.” However, after recalling the joy of playing ping pong during this interview, she has decided to reconsider purchasing and owning her own table tennis set for her to play with whenever she has some time to spare. Truly, her love for her favourite sport is still apparent after all these years. Who knows, she may decide to reenter the world of ping pong and one day go professional.
As the day concluded, it is such a pleasant surprise to know that Melbournians actually have different favourite sports for themselves. While AFL may be the big fish of the city sport, other sports can also thrive amidst the love for sports that Melbournians carry. How about yourself, folk? This may be the perfect time to reconsider taking up that exercise which is currently idling at the back of your mind.
Text: Edward Tanoto
Photo: David Nguyen, Raymond Hermanto & Valantina Kharboosh