Mixed Loyalties?

Every time an Ashes tour comes around its like groundhog day. Both nations build up their own team and slag off the other regularly branding it the worst team to leave their shores, and ex players predict a whitewash.

Also every Ashes Tour those of us born in Britain living in Australia are asked who we support.

When I first moved to Australia I had played against a few of the players in the England side, so I felt it would be disloyal to not support England. Also I had only been in the country ‘five minutes’ and it was therefore not going to be an immediate transition.

As the years rolled by I found myself supporting many of the Australian teams, – except if they played Scotland, due to my ancestry. I will of course be hoping the Socceroos can overcome Honduras in their World Cup Qualifier. However for some reason I find I cannot switch alliance to the Australian cricket team. I have made excuses, such as when I have lived here as long as I lived there I will switch, but now that date has passed I find that my loyalties still lie with England.

What amazes me still is the reaction you sometimes get when you announce that you are still supporting the land of your birth over the land you live in. Some become very aggressive about the issue and tell you in so uncertain terms to head back to that land if you still feel ties to it! Why are you living here if you support them?

It is a very hard situation to try and explain unless you live it. The comfort is I know that I am not alone. I know when it comes to football there are many more who have migrated to Australia who if Italy, Croatia, Greece, Peru or Argentina were playing Australia would still support the team of their heritage. Against anyone else they would be behind Australia. Of course some are more than happy to switch allegiance, especially those whose journeys to this country were hazardous and unpleasant.

There are many South Africans who when it comes to rugby have abandoned the Springboks to support the Wallabies as they feel grateful that this country offered them a haven and new opportunities.

This is all well and good, but for some of us it is not that easy. Why? A reason is very hard to find, it is simply something you feel in your gut.

Announcing that you support England in the Ashes brings out some strange reactions in people, some which are totally irrational.

We know that when it comes to AFL and NRL there are loyal dyed-in-the-wool supporters of clubs. If you were a West Coast Eagles fan and you moved to Melbourne would you cease to support the Eagles? Even if you were a Melbourne Victory fan and moved to Sydney would you switch teams? The logic, based on the arguments of many are that if you don’t then you should head back to WA. Would an NRL supporter ever switch allegiance?

Some may argue that supporting a club is different to supporting a country, but is it? You opted to support that team in your youth, you followed them through highs and lows, you know their history, you knew the players just as supporters of club sides do. So asking, or expecting a fan to switch alliances simply due to the geography of where they end up living seems unreasonable.

Some would argue being from somewhere else and living in Australia you have the best of both worlds, you can support the Australians as well as the team of your heritage.

Mixed Loyalties?
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