Should anyone read this heading without being culturally attuned to Australian Sport, they might wonder what it might mean? Could it be the stock market? Might it be something to do with the outback? Perhaps mining – the diamond mining industry have won a court case against the environmentalists.
No, no, no, no – none of those.
The heading relates to the nicknames of two of Australia's most loved national sporting teams – the Australian girl's netball team and the Australian men's Rugby team.
The results came in last weekend and the peoples of Australia had one ear on the sport results and one ear on whatever they were doing at the time. People gathered for parties over a barbecue or they were indoors having a quiet one with their friends, yet cheering loudly as things went their way or the other.
Welcome to Australia! For the record, the Wallabies went down badly to the New Zealand All Blacks for the Bledesloe Cup yet the Diamonds won the Netball World Cup against the New Zealand Silver Ferns – by a mere skirmish, 3 points.
Nicknames are part of Australian life – be in the work place, home or on sporting field. Teams have nicknames, athletes get nicknames. It's Australia. Australians have a habit to giving hilarious names to their fellow athletes. Here are some examples:
Javid Miandad the Pakistani cricketer of the 70s-80s was nicknamed 'Dave' by the Aussies after the old black and white Australian movie series 'Dad and Dave' (Me and Dad).
Kookaburra (men's hockey) super star forward of the '80's Mark Hagar was given the nickname of 'Horrible' after the cartoon character Hagar the Horrible.
Susan Fuhrmann the Diamonds (Australian and Western Australian Netball) super star defender is nicknamed the 'Furminator".
When Australian quick Pat Cummins burst on the scene with his six wicket haul in South Africa a few years ago, he was nicknamed 'Postman Pat' as he always delivers.
Familiar team nicknames
Central Coast Mariners
Men's Basketball - Boomers
Women's Basketball - Opals
Rugby League - Kangaroos
Rugby - Wallabies
Men's Hockey - Kookaburras
Women's Hockey - Hockeyroos
Men's Soccer - Socceroos
Women's Soccer - Matilda's
Men's Softball - Aussie Steelers
Women's Softball - Aussie Spirit
Netball - Diamonds
Swimming - Dolphins
An extensive list can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_national_sports_team_nicknames
Nicknames are part of the Australian sporting scene whether it be a person or a team.
Another more illustrious Nickname
Nicknames may over time, becomes part of a legal registered name, such as some of the Football Clubs. Moreover many may not realise this, but such nicknames are old hat! They have been around for at least two thousand years, and one might be surprised as to where nicknames might be found.
The early followers of Jesus were known as people of the Way but is wasn't until Paul and Barnabas began planning their first missionary journey are we informed that the followers of Christ were given a nickname and it stuck!
Acts chapter 11 verse 26: "And it came to pass, that a whole year they (Paul and Barnabas) assembled themselves with the Church (in Antioch), and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
There you have it – this nickname is still around today!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html