Originally Posted by Goughy
I have the greatest respect for Australian sporting culture (obsession with water-based sports excepted). If there is ever an example of culture and environment impacting sport then we can just compare Aus and Eng. Australia is on another level in terms of sport across the board.
TBH, I think if they looked different then people would take the easy way out and lazily blame genetics.
Serious question, is it possble that a reason for this ability to take sport to another level is partially based on the fact that Aus has a pretty small population, very isolated and isnt particularly significant in global affairs and that sport gives the opportunity to make a massive impression internationally? Just a random thought.
This has come up before and for a long time it was what I thought too. But in speaking to Aussies about it (including one who married into the family), and spending some time over there, I don't think so. They have an unusual culture - not a care in the world about what's happening elsewhere; their standing in global affairs; and absolutely no outward desire to change that. They just seem to be perfectly happy where they are. When you try to jibe them with something about them being "insignificant on a global scale" in terms of their politics and economy, they don't take it as an insult. It doesn't mean anything to them.
By and large they appear to have no great desire to learn about history of any kind other than in the field of their own sport. Not a word of a lie, the average historical knowledge of an early-20s Australian comes across as worse than what a primary school kid would have here in England. I was appalled at that. They're also not the most religious bunch; most I spoke to view it with contempt.
I do think that because they don't put a lot of energy into the things other countries traditionally do, they have a lot left over to focus on building themselves as competitors. But I'm not convinced the motive behind it is to build their international profile, "conquer the world" if you will. I'm inclined to think the sole driving force is a love of the contest.