Selling out a century of interstate cricket competition’s Sheffield Shield for milk money is one of them; even our, and TT’s, resident Anglophobes may have been affronted by that.
Ground management “issues” come to mind: arm-long Conditions of Entry statements that target the unruly 5%, but spoil the day for the other 95 - Christopher Rowlandson’s letter in Sunday’s Mercury (yes, I know it’s got a statewide, seemingly more inclusive title) “Stumped by cricket confusion” was but one of many. And then there are the morons who get employed as ground announcers, adept only at stating the bleedin’ obvious (perhaps not to them, though ?) such as “XY has just been bowled, and here’s PQ coming in to bat”. Not to mention teenage noise masquerading as music, and the blaring ads which probably result in plenty of blasted hearers deciding there and then to never, ever, buy that. Well, you’d hope so.
Finally, there’s our sledging, where a line seems to have been crossed, well, completely obliterated, it seems.
Shane Warne’s recent talk on Parkinson involved his Me ‘n’ Daryl Cullinan epic and the South African batsman’s having to consult a psychiatrist. At their next meeting at the bowler’s end, Warne’s question to his bunny was “What colour was the couch ?” Only a prim ‘n’ prissy member of the extended Grundy family could whinge about that.
This is not about the genuinely funny, the sort blokes can laugh about ten or twenty years on, like the one recounted last weekend involving recently-retired Brisbane Lions captain Michael Voss. Said Voss on the mark as his St Kilda opponent lined up for goal: My father slept with your mother. Result: no goal, as sibling banter took its toll.
But nearly every media report emphasises that our team’s sledging has gone much lower than harmless banter or robust baiting, and perhaps explains why Ponting’s winning XIs don’t engender warm glows of approval. Not that it’s all our local hero’s fault - the allegations stem from long before his time. Compare how Geelong’s 2007 AFL premiership evoked almost universal acclaim, not limited to Cats’ supporters, right down to how the winning players treated the Auskick kids on the premiership dais. (And recall how 2006’s winners didn’t, and why.)
However, our self-criticism (and, boy, is there a lot of it about ! - so many celebs, so many academics, so many media practitioners taking so many pains to tell us how they hate their own country and culture) ought not induce in us a blind admiration for our opponents, especially as victim, and The Australian’s Peter Lalor’s thoughtful [ Ugliness of racism will not go away quietly ] ventures where few western journalists have dared, especially with the reference to the use of “khaliya (darkie)” in India itself.
Our reticence is understandable, given our collective imperialist/racialist past, but is it time to point out some away truths ?
More than a few Westerners wondered, in connexion with India’s campaign against apartheid, whether this was an example of pot ‘n’ kettle inconsistency (to put it as mildly as possible): yes, we have some lingering specks of racism affecting our vision, but what about the beam of the caste system/s in your own eyes ? That much of the Wikipedia items on the subject seem to bend over backwards to deny any racial aspects, or to blame it (all) on the British Raj, lends some credence to this suggestion –
Perhaps it’s time for some quality journalism and enlightening correspondence on these very complex historico-economic-societal matters, particularly from the sub-continent: we could all do with some Satyagraha.
Besides, nothing hurts a good cause like having hypocrisy as a supporter.
^ what a f***ing over-used word that has become - do you also turn off when some gormless politician starts spouting “issues” instead of saying Yes, No or Don’t know ?
Leonard Colquhoun 7248
“Coolidge is a better example of evolution than either Bryan or Darrow, for he knows when not to talk, which is the biggest asset the monkey possesses over the human.” — Will Rogers, Saturday Review, 25 August 1962
THERE ARE several aspects of Australian cricket that cause distaste, and perhaps that old adage about the love of money has taken the new ball and is bowling head-high bouncers at the old game’s body politic.