When ESPN debuted in the early 1980s, one of the network's time-filling staples was Australian Rules Football. I was obsessed.
The giant, oval field. The fans with gigantic pom poms. The four - that's right, four - goal posts. The referees that signaled points by seemingly drawing six-shooters from their holsters and by resuming play from a dead ball by slamming what appears to be a bigger, roundier football into the turf with a high bounce.
And the players. Oh yeah, the players.
These days I'm a little too busy with the Cowboys and Rangers to keep up with Aussie "Footy," but I still consider ARF players to be the best athletes on the planet. They can run all day, run fast when they need to, kick - at full sprint, mind you - with either foot for accuracy or distance and outfight, without pads, big, brawny defenders or high-arcing free balls.
ARF is faster than rugby; tougher than American football.
That's why Saturday morning you just might find me at Allen's Celebration Park, watching the undefeated Dallas Magpies taking on the Austin Crows in a nice game of Footy.
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The Magpies are 7-0 this season, though I'm pretty foggy on how a final score could be 6.6-3.2. (Something about proper goals between the narrow posts and "behind" secondary goals between the wider posts?).
All I know is the Magpies are damn good. (Just ask Cowboys' punter Mat McBriar. He's one of their biggest supporters and has even refereed a game.) One of three teams in Texas and 33 teams in the country, the Magpies are hosting their final home game in preparation for the Footy Nationals October 8-11 in Louisville.
Last year they won the Division 3 title. This year, at 7-0, they're on their way to a Division 2 championship.
Any doubt they're the best football team in Dallas?