Football is so important. Sport is so important. I write this and am torn between genuinely feeling that football, and sport in general, is both extremely important in our society and far too important. Sport gives people the chance to bond, to grow in ways that other activities can’t. There can be life-long bonds formed, and people from many walks of life can come together. I personally would argue that this could be said for many group activities where the group has a common goal, but sport really is important. With the popularity of AFL in Australia (and many other codes both in Australia and worldwide), the players are seen as gods by many and loyalty to the code and the team is above all else. So, what happens when women are involved?
Over the last few years there have been numerous sex ‘scandals’ (although, as Krien points out, rape is a lot more serious than simply being a scandal) involving players, sometimes several players involved in the same incident. Some people cry that the women want it; stalking the players at nightclubs and wanting an AFL star as a notch on their bedpost. But there is a lot more to it than this. There is a whole culture involved with footy; a culture that Krien has managed to peek into.
The main part of the story follows a non-AFL footballer who, after partying with some of his professional playing mates, is charged with rape of a woman in an alley outside the party. Krien is conflicted in covering this in her book as the victim and her family would not talk with her, but the accused and his family embraced her. Yet it is such a key part of the culture Krien was looking into, I’m glad she wrote it as she did.
This is a book that will disgust you, but really make you think. There are a lot of changes that need to be made within this kind of sporting culture, and Night Games gives some suggestions. Definitely worth a read, especially for anyone involved in elite sport.