Aussie lingo: barracker

By Frank Povah 7 November 2013
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Are you a fan or a barracker? Frank Povah tells us the difference.

FAN. OH, HOW I’M coming to hate that word, and you hear it all the time these days: “The ‘Pies fans are livid; they reckon the umpire’s got it wrong”; “Australian cricket fans will be disappointed by this performance”; “Who’d be a Rabbitohs fan?”

Fan? Fans are the hysterical hangers-on at “world premieres”, members of a simpering mob who crowd twittering and gasping against artificial-silk ropes to gawk at toothy film stars strutting along the red polyester carpet for the TV cameras.

Fans don’t go to footy matches and roar at the umpire: “What’s the matter? You swaller yer whistle, yer bloody maggot?” Nor does a fan yell “Avago yer flamin’ mug” at some struggling batsman at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But barrackers do.

To be a barracker is to be invincible, to be the equal of anyone on Earth, and better than most. It means standing crammed shoulder to shoulder with other members of your clan while you yell blue murder at mug umpires, dirty mongrels of fullbacks and members of the rival clan who “wouldn’t have a bloody clue, mate”.

It means being able to rid yourself of all life’s tensions – if only for a couple of precious, bloodthirsty, joy-filled hours. A fan wouldn’t yell at a skinny rising starlet: “Go ‘ome and git yer mum ter feed yer!”

But a barracker would.

Source: Australian Geographic Issue 83 (Jul – Sep 2006)

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