Dingo’s Rant: A Surprising Australian Viewpoint

4 04 2010

A debut contribution from a regular reader, Dingo. A fair dinkum Aussie, who has a love of all things sporting, he will be writing the odd article now and again.

It would take the best part of an hour to get the cows from the pitch. An inconvenience sure, but none the less an efficient way to keep the outfield from becoming overgrown.

1987, Woongoolba Year 6 cricket, a credible enough team considering the shallow pool of players to choose from. A school of only 200 children, if it hadn’t been for the lure of escaping classes on Wednesday afternoons, it might have been impossible to field a team at all.

So there we were, on a pitch surrounded by the sugar cane plantations, sons of farmers, fishermen and mill workers. Shoes were optional (more required to avoid the leavings of the absent bovine than anything performance related) and sharing of equipment was mandatory. A cracking match against the visitors from Jacobs was underway. Nobody knew the score by the time the last pair were at the crease, (scoreboards being in short supply in the cane fields), but the general feeling was Woongoolba were about fifty runs off the pace. After a dazzling flurry of shots that would not  have been present in any textbooks, furious running and brave calling between the wickets, what felt like a game winning partnership had been achieved. In due course the last wicket had fallen and the question came up who was victorious. Mr. Henderson, Umpire and Year 6 teacher, informed us “I actually stopped counting the runs a while back, you boys were having such fun and working so hard, I felt that nobody deserved to lose”.The funny thing was, everyone was completely satisfied with that, not to mention the cows who were allowed back in to their favored grazing areas.

It’s hard to remember a time when professional sports and sporting occasions were just that, fun. It seems like every decision, goal or achievement is associated with business rather than pleasure. Every mistake is analysed and the appropriate person chastised. Every victory a testament to planning and work ethic.

There is simply no time for fun. Just ask a football manager, Mr Benitez? Having fun? Nope,  no fun there. Rugby? Mr. Johnson? Having a good time? I’m guessing by that scowl, not too much. And yet, we watch our favored sports as entertainment. You know, fun stuff.

Fun, entertainment, call it what you will, but it is not necessarily mutually exclusive from the professional game. Remember when Clive Lloyd was leading his Caribbean Kings on a swathe of destruction through the cricket world? How could calypso flair not be fun? And surely Brazil in full flow, in pursuit of yet another world cup, is fun? They play with an obvious joy which is a pleasure to watch.

So why are teams so scared to let their players have fun?  From my view point, I’m definitely inspired by those who appear to be enjoying their game. Freddie Flintoff, Shane Warne, Dan Carter, all seem to be going about their business with a smile on their face which is refreshing to see. So c’mon, entertain us, enjoy yourself, play the way you love to play, the way you learnt to play on the cow fields or parking lots growing up. Throw the speculative pass. Send more men into attack instead of behind the ball, swing the willow in the middle overs, you may not succeed, but you’ll win some fans who also miss the fun. Try it, you might be surprised!

Note from the Compulsive Hooker: Those of you wondering if an Australian can truly have written about having fun rather than winning, let me assure you he is genuinely from the land down under and assures me that his next piece will be much more ‘Australian’.

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5 responses

5 04 2010
Dingo

winning is also quite fun…..

5 04 2010
Bradders

I did think it an entirely surprising topic for you to be writing about – but agree with the sentiment. The problem is money though at the end of the day. The more that people are paid, then the more of a job it becomes I think and the stakes are raised. It probably takes a supreme sportsman who is totally confident in their abilities to enjoy a pressure situation. Hence Warne, Carter et al.

Cheers

5 04 2010
Dingo

Not denying that it’s money that runs most pro sports now, just lamenting the fact that because of exactly that, it takes away the very reason we loved sports in the first place…… and probably takes away most of the spectacle, which is of course a viscious circle…

5 04 2010
Bradders

true story!

5 04 2010
Quote of the day: 5/04/2010 | The Nurdler

[…] Read his rather good blog post here. […]

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