Lighting people on fire? Not normal!
Clinton Jones of the Saints and Jaeger O'Meara of the Suns in action during the 2013 AFL Round 22 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on August 25, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media) Date: 2013-08-25 13:49:49 Clinton Jones of the Saints and Jaeger O'Meara of the Suns. Photo: Michael Willson
When commenting on the behaviour of others, I am always a little bit wary. I’m well aware that as I am not a normal person, I am in no position to judge the normality or otherwise of others.
But occasionally, people choose to act in ways so bizarre and at odds with reason that even I gain the confidence to stand up and cry, “this ain’t quite right.”
Now, Mad Monday is a time for footballers to ‘blow off steam’, to throw off the exhaustion and restraint of a gruelling season and relax a bit, have some fun, engage in a revelry of what inevitably will be a raucous and possibly risque kind.
But surely neither ‘blowing off steam’ nor raucous revelry include, as a necessary component, the setting of other people on fire?
I’m not even commenting on the stature of the gentleman involved in the St Kilda brouhaha. The point isn’t the physical characteristics of the non-footballing citizens who got caught up in this fun little game: the point is that a group of grown men, thrown together to have fun and kick back in the company of friends, decided the best way to do this would be to set each other alight.
Please think about that for a moment. If perchance a St Kilda footballer is actually reading this, I urge you to take a few days if need be, to really let it sink in.
Because I don’t care about the stature, size, athletic prowess, gender, sexual preference, race, colour or creed of those involved, when a person considers the act of setting another person on fire to be a form of recreation, I am going out on a limb and saying, that is simply not normal.
Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t really go out clubbing much, so maybe I’m just unaware that young fellows everywhere are having good clean fun with matches every night of the week.
But I don’t think so. And the reason I don’t think so is that setting people on fire is an insane thing to do.
It’s not the act of a healthy young adult. It’s the act of someone with large amounts of shrapnel lodged in their brain. It’s the act of someone who’s been drinking lead paint since the age of two.
It’s not just that it’s bad behaviour: it’s psychotic, surrealistically mental behaviour. It’s not just that it brings the game into disrepute: it’s that it makes the game liable to be involuntarily admitted to an institution.
So when I look toward the fine footballers of St Kilda, I ask, “What is wrong with you?”
And that’s not rhetorical, I genuinely want to know what quirk of brain chemistry or industrial accident brought about the behavioural disorder that causes one to form and then act on the thought, “Hmm, maybe it would be fun if I could set some people on fire today”.
I mean, say a sportsperson punches someone in a pub, Davey Warner style. Terrible behaviour, but at least I get it. I’ve at least experienced the desire to punch someone before – it’s a human instinct that seems fathomable. But I’ve never experienced the desire to light anyone up. Of any height.
It’s just not normal, guys. And although neither is being a professional footballer, of course, it’d be nice if off-field our sporting heroes made some effort to at least act like normal human beings, instead of drunken mischief demons.
So I humbly request that our sporting community tries to be a bit less ludicrous in future. To help towards this end, here is a list of other things that are not normal:
- Public urination.
- Beating up your girlfriend.
- Receiving oral pleasure from a dog.
- Taking photographs of yourself receiving oral pleasure from a dog.
- Not knowing what the strange man is injecting you with.
- Playing for Manly.
- Advertising Swisse vitamins.
Is that quite clear? We all good now? Are we ready to begin lives as normal, sane grown-ups?
Ben Pobjie is a writer & comedian writing weekly on The Age, New Matilda and The Roar, whose promising rugby career was tragically cut short. The most he has ever cried was the day Balmain lost the 1989 grand final. Today he enjoys the frolics of Wallabies, Swans, baggy greens, and Storms. Ben is raising funds for his 2014 comedy festival spectacular Trigger Warning, a show to upset everyone. Help it happen by supporting him directly.
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