Streuth John, run your race and not your mouth
I love the thermal sensation of nationalistic pride I feel when I think about Australia’s achievements as a sporting nation. It flows like the Murray, from my corked hat to my Dunlop Volleys, and makes me feel bloody bonzer.
For a population which by global standards is small, the number of champions our production line pumps out is consistently high. I’ve done the count myself and, per capita, it’s definitely overs.
Further patriotic fist pumps are provoked when I think of the usual unassuming grace we’ve shown in the majority of the billion wins we’ve racked up.
Bloody oath cobbers, I’ll tell anyone who asks. Our neck of the woods is chockers with respectful and humble gut-busters. Stuff-all of us have tickets on ourselves and we take care of business for the wide brown land with minimal fuss.
It’s a homegrown stereotype, but I’ll cling to it. However, having an island full of reticent and hardworking legends does have a downside.
The rich fibre of modesty that we covet can be easily torn when one of those pretentious self-advertising types occasionally surfaces.
If an outspoken mirror-worshipping jock starts ripping on the starter cord of their turbine-powered voice box and then revs the thing like an attention-seeking bogan’s Torana, they tend to stand out.
Our numero uno offender used to be Anthony Mundine, but nowadays spandex-clad brat John Steffensen seriously challenges his top seeding.
Steffensen has recommenced his attempt for the mantle of Australia’s King of Codswallop right in the shadows of an impending athletics carnival involving earth and, as a fierce protector of our national image, frankly I’m cheesed.
What are you doing, John?
Australians would like to see our fleet of golden kids pick up their six to eight gold medals and 30+ clean-forgotten bronze without controversy please.
What makes his recent conduct even more difficult to handle is not only the fact he is making the Olympics all about him, but also Australia’s thirsting for a smoko break from the duty of digesting this type of self-centred activity.
Let’s face it, we’ve only just recently learnt to apply Mum’s old rule about the school bully to Mundine’s carry-on. If you ignore it, eventually it will go away – or lose relevance domestically and nick off to America to fight has-beens.
When Mundine first bustled on to the scene with a speaking style similar to a gerni hooked up to a septic tank, Australia was taken aback. Partly his brash and conceited approach was so unfamiliar, partly we had no idea how to deal with it.
All we had been fed over the years was bland and respectful mutterings from knockabout blokes and sheilas, usually who had earned their right to 15 seconds of exhausted yak the moment they stepped out of a pool. There was no instruction manual on how to react to bluster and bravado from someone who was certain they were going to conquer the world after beating the snot out of an opponent with a 5-20 record.
This state of confusion had some so incensed and perturbed that even our treasured right to free speech was on the line. Ordinary Australians considered foregoing the right to the occasional sexist joke or verbal zinger towards a politician if it meant that this guy had to shut up too.
But as time has gone on, and Mundine’s episode-staged press conferences have lost their novelty factor, we’ve all learnt to deal with it.
It’s an uneasy state of comfort, but a damn long way from the first moment when we lost our minds after he grabbed a microphone and plagiarised some Muhammad Ali rhyming while wearing oversized sunnies.
So after this long slog of internal wrangling that has eventually resulted in us finding some kind of peace, we would really appreciate some quiet time. Nothing but the banal and prudent, please.
Unfortunately, the last couple of weeks dotted with Steffensen’s media grabs of spoilt fluff indicate that he didn’t get the memo.
Please John, how about a different approach? Perhaps an immediate code of silence that will help to begin rescue your previously won medals from drowning in an ocean of boasting, tantrums and poor attempts at rap?
We would like to enjoy the Olympics without your threats and sulking, and maybe one day class you as an Aussie champ who does his best running with his legs and not his mouth.
I won’t hold my breath inside my dinky-di lungs waiting for this to happen, so perhaps it would help if we just give him a sock.
Just make sure it’s green and gold and made out of grouse Aussie wool.
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