It’s a full-contact sport that uses no pads or helmets. The game contains elements from rugby, soccer, and basketball. It’s called Australian Rules Football, but from the sidelines it looks as though there are very few rules at all.Members of the Southern California Australian Football League (SCAFL) came together over the weekend to host a charity match to raise funds for the victims of the recent wildfires in Victoria, Australia. It’s estimated the fires have killed over 200 people with thousands of others left homeless. “Being half a world away, we’re limited on what we can do to help,” remarked SCAFL President Corey Irwin. “This is more than just a fundraiser; it’s a sign of solidarity. They’re in our thoughts and prayers and anything we can do to help, we will.” The SCAFL is made up of amateur players from the L.A., Santa Monica, Riverside, and Orange County areas. Throughout the day volunteers collected monetary donations as well as used clothing, with all proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross. Pre-game festivities included a children’s clinic where current players taught a group of about 20 kids the basics of the sport. Adding to the family feel of the occasion was the friendliness of the crowd. “Everyone is so kind and welcoming,” said Santa Monica resident Kelly Galuska. “I honestly had no idea what to expect when I came down, but it’s been a really fun day.” The event took place at Santa Monica High School, and while the teams did keep score, the result of the match was of little consequence. This was evident at the end of the game when both sides came together as one group to thank the fans in attendance.Special guests at the event included radio personalities Dave “the King of Mexico” McCabe and Psycho Mike from the World Famous KROQ. Jim Manzie of the 1970s Australian rock band Ol’ 55 sang the Australian national anthem, while singer/actress Whitney Kaufman from the touring production of Mama Mia! performed the American anthem. Key sponsors included Vitamin Water and the Los Angeles Clippers plus local businesses Longshot Espresso and Toluca Tots.Donations to the fire victims can still be made online at redcross.org.au/Donations/ onlineDonations.asp.To find more information on the Southern California Australian Football League go to www.socalfooty.com.
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