Or is it? Australia is a nation of sportspeople both participants and armchair experts, of which I am none. Our commercial news each evening is dominated by 10 minutes of local, 5 minutes of overseas headlines and 15 minutes of bloody sport. Usually dominated by a little known game called Rugby League and which 110kg twit has been reported to the 'tribunal' for misdemeanors. Now this game is rough, there's no padding except maybe a box to protect the fleshy bits and a bit of ankle strapping. You grab a funny shaped ball, run a few metres then a bunch of thigh grabbing leviathans drag you to the ground and make you pass the ball backwards. I think you can do this 8 times before you have to run over the 'try' line and convert the goal with a kick. Duh! I'ts hardly rocket science.
It's players are not intellectual giants but big boofheads with broken noses, cauliflower ears and an inability to pronounce 'th' in any way uvver van 'f'.
Then there's Aussie Rules or Arial Ping Pong. Similar to rugby only the players jump to 'mark' the ball and there's more kicking than tackling. The latest fraccas is in relation to sledging, trash-talking, verbally insulting each other on the field took place between two AFL players but it's pretty indicative of what happens all the time.
Player 1: See that tatoo on your arm? (tattoo of young girl). I boffed her last night!"
Player 2: That's my daughter you fug *biffs said sledger on the nose for his trouble*
Both are called before the Aussie Footy League Tribunal and let off because it's a blatent case of he said, he said.
This little incident in one of last week's games has caused a whole debate on whether sledging is an issue or not. When I was an ankle biter, sledging was something you did in the snowy hills during winter on a wooden contraption made by your dad out of building site wood and copper piping for the runners - but here, it's verbal 'abuse' (and I use the term loosely) a sports crime. It happens on the footy field, in cricket, on the tennis court. These so called 'elite' sportspeople are tough, trained, skilled (well that's arguable in the world of Rugby League) so why are they so 'sensitive' on the pitch. The same players are constantly being hauled over the coals for bad behaviour in public, drunken brawls, sexual assault, drunk driving and the like but someone says "can't bowl, can't bat" or calls you a "curry muncher" or "you've got a head like a bowling ball" and all hell breaks loose, precious little possums.
Personally, I'm a lover of sledging . . .I liked the McEnroe's and Connor's of the world having a tanty on the court, tennis has become so polite since their departure. I love to see a cricketer brought to tears because someone says he bowls like a girl . . . bring it on . . .but please . . . take it off the TV, it's hardly a world event and definitely not worthy of so much time during our all too brief newscasts.