Aussie cry-babies

Published by: Hugh G on 1st Apr 2018 | View all blogs by Hugh G

I am fascinated by the extraordinary over-reaction in Australia to the ball-tampering scandal which has erupted in recent days. The punishment meted out to the players who have admitted responsibility seems to be disproportionate, and the public humiliation of the captain, Steve Smith, who burst into tears in a press conference after arriving back in Australia, is difficult to understand. Ball-tampering is not regarded by the cricket authorities as a very serious offence, and it is difficult to imagine English cricketers, or the English public, reacting in such an extreme manner.

We tend to regard Australians as hard-bitten, resilient types, reflecting in their character the harsh country which bred them. They are not noted for their diligent observance of the rules in any sphere, and they tend to regard the Poms as soft, pampered and excessively law-abiding. Yet this incident suggests almost the opposite – does it show Aussies acting out of character, or is there a different cultural explanation?

Australians take sport very seriously, and cricket is their national sport – the only one which binds the nation together because it is played across the whole country. Australia is also a surprisingly conservative country, and the ideal of a strong, independent man who will do anything for his mates, but adheres to a strict code of conduct, is deeply rooted in the national psyche. The Australian cricketers played hard but not fairly, and this offended the Australian sense of honour. Only this can explain the hysterical reaction to what was, in reality, a pretty minor incident.

If we look at the British sporting culture, it is, of course, dominated by football, in which cheating is an integral part of the game. We do not regard integrity as a crucial ingredient in our sporting identity. Indeed, whilst admiring the qualities of true gentlemen like Bobby Charlton, our real heroes are more complex individuals like Jimmy Greaves and George Best. In this environment, it would not be possible for an incident of cheating in cricket to be so overblown. Cricket is not important enough to us, and our sense of honour in sport has been compromised by our acceptance of football culture.

Comments

8 Comments

  • Bill W
    by Bill W 2 months ago
    When sport was amateur, it was sport, when money became the be-all and end-all it ceased to be a sport in my humble opinion.
    I can remember professional footballers walking to the ground alongside supporters with their boots tide together hanging around their necks. They earned what was considered good money back then, usually more than any supporters earned, but not the lottery win type wages of today. The ironic thing is, the very ordinary working class supporters that helped make their clubs successful can no longer afford to go to matches, they have been priced out.

    As for the ball tampering in cricket, Hugh, and divers in football, in my mind, they should not be allowed to compete, they are cheats and spit in the eye of decent sportspeople.
  • Ann R
    by Ann R 2 months ago
    I often wonder if the older football players such as the Charlton brothers etc cringe at the amount of money that players earn these days, it doesn't seem to make them better players (not that I know that much about it).
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 2 months ago
    Ann - Bill, I thoroughly agree with you about the atrocious amounts of monies paid today to our footballers...same can be said for a lot of sports such as darts....for what is a sport played because they enjoy playing it...Yes in football the training is hard but they know what is expected of them right from the start..
    As for the crying's on camera from the cricketers ( ball tampering, ) I see it as " crocodile tears..."
  • Hugh G
    by Hugh G 2 months ago
    I agree that the amount of money in sport (not just football) these days does not seem to have improved the players' manners, or, really, their skill. My concern is that footballers are regarded as above reproach to a great extent, despite their blatant cheating on the field. Indeed, they are sometimes criticised for not cheating ('going down' is the euphemism used for falling over a defender's leg on purpose to win a penalty) when it would have benefited their team if they did.
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 2 months ago
    Re, football...take away their money, and would we have any great footballers today, I wonder...think the ones we have now would run a mile...
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 2 months ago
    Yes exactly crocodle tears because they got found out...and " not for the deed "
  • Hugh G
    by Hugh G 2 months ago
    I agree with every word that LJ writes. I do not think that sports people make good role models. They are, almost by definition, narrowly self-obsessed and oblivious of normal people. This is how they get to be so good at what they do. The best of them mature and become interesting people, usually after they retire. The worst tend not to be able to cope with life outside sport, as this is all they know. I love sport as an amateur participant and a keen watcher of the professionals, but I am realistic about how we regard them. I wish we could become more rational about what to expect of young men and women who have led a very odd life and achieved great fame and too much money without knowing how to manage either. We should not be surprised when they fail to live up to our unrealistic expectations.
  • Tony  T
    by Tony T 2 months ago
    Cheating is cheating what ever sport and however serious a person may chose to see it.
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