It is unavoidable, inescapable, a never-ending rugby chant that has overtaken the Sydney Olympic Games.
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!
Oi! Oi! Oi!
I was on a train the other day, trying to hold a cellular phone conversation with an editor back in the States, when the conductor got on the loudspeaker and shamelessly began stoking the patriotic fever simmering in the cars behind him.
"Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie!" he crowed, laying the bait that no red-blooded Aussie can apparently resist.
"Oi! Oi! Oi!" the passengers screamed in response.
Back and forth the conductor and his crew went, again and again and again. By the time I finished the phone call and got off the train, I was reasonably certain my assignment for the day was to write about Ozzie Smith, Ozzie Newsome and Ozzy Osbourne plugging oyster oil ointment.
Where in the world did this chant come from?
And how, short of calling in the Marines, can it be stopped?
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the chant probably originated at cricket matches during the early 1970s. Probably. A letter written to the paper last year claimed that an ace bowler of the era, Rodney Hogg, inspired fans to chant along to his deliveries, "Hoggy! Hoggy! Hoggy! Oink! Oink! Oink!"