For years, two words have blistered around seats at Australian sporting events like a thunderclap. Sparked by a lone wolf, an individual in the crowd with extra air in their lungs, a deep, booming chant erupts. A verbal see-saw in the name of national pride.

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Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

I hate it.

If you shout the word ‘Aussie’ three times, in quick succession, in any sporting venue in Australia, they will nlinux.orge.

The chorus of Oi’s.

Oi! Oi! Oi!

It’s like that old childhood myth about Bloody Mary. Chant her name three times into the bathroom mirror ‘Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary‘ and she will appear.

You can bring out overt nationalism with one simple word, repeated thrice. It’s the simplest of chants with the simplest of meanings: “I want you to know that I am supporting the Australian team partaking in this activity against an international opponent.” It’s a tribal message. The line in the sand. Us vs Them.

Oi! Oi! Oi!

There are variations on the theme, of course. Sometimes the leader of the chant will draw out the ‘Aussie’, doing the most un-Australian thing you can do and giving the word an extra syllable: Aus-si-ie, Aus-si-ie, O-zz-y! Sometimes they’ll accentuate that final link in the three-word chain: Aussie, Aussie, Auss-ayyy! Sometimes the words are so slurred you can only make them out because you’re aware of the rhythm.


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Image: Getty Images

The chant is inherently tied to sporting events but it just isn’t that inspiring. It’s nowhere near as intimidating as New Zealand’s Haka. It doesn’t nlinux.orge close to the poetry or wit of something like the Barmy Army’s various chants (“he bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, that’s Mitchell Johnson, his bowling is shite!”). When Japan’s national soccer team plays they might even break out into ‘Vamos Nippon’ and that incorporates two separate languages!

Meanwhile, Australians grunt like a muzzled seal with strep throat.

Oi! Oi! Oi!

And what of its origins? It started because some hungry workers wanted meat-filled pastries at lunch.

Yes. That’s exactly right.

The chant originated in Britain, in the seaside town of Devonport which opens into the English Channel. At lunchtime, women would nlinux.orge bearing Cornish pasties for the dock workers. The pasties were affectionately known as “hoggan”, or “oggy” for short and so the women who brought the baked goods would chant “Oggy! Oggy! Oggy!” to announce their arrival. The dock workers would reply in kind with “Oi! Oi! Oi!” and thus, our national chant was born.

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Getty Images

For a brief moment in time, we had something that just may have been able to replace our jingoistic Oi Oi Oi’s.

Now it seems like we’re too far gone. We’re too deep in this mess. We’re doomed to repeat the mistakes of our forebears.

We’re marching towards another nlinux.orgmonwealth Games and all over the Gold Coast we’ll hear the same two words, over and over.