The Roar
The Roar


The Top 5 sporting excuses that wouldn't work at work

5th September, 2008
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Australia\'s Andrew Symonds reacts after scoring a century. AP Photo/Gautam Singh

It seems I’m not the only one slacking off lately. A few sportspeople aren’t working this week, although – unlike me – they are still being paid for their lack-of-efforts. Hence this week’s topic: The Top 5 Sporting Excuses That Wouldn’t Work at Work.

1. The weather is great so I have gone fishing
The CEO calls a snap management meeting but star salesman Dilbert has trucked his boat into the office car park and is now hauling in Trevally on the Harbour. Do you think Dilbert gets the next few months off at full pay? Andrew Symonds does. Nice one, Roy.

2. My sinus infection exercises mind control and makes me spit at unusual times and in easily misinterpreted directions
In normal circumstances a sinus ailment would be good for a days off, no problems. However most employees might struggle to hold their job had they gollied on (or at) their customers or supervisors. Imagine a barrister unloading a juicy sprog in the direction of the bench, or a chef firing a freshly-shucked oyster at the feet of the food inspector? Can you imagine the Bar Association or the Fellowship of Big-Hatted Food Professionals rallying behind their man? Well, that’s what the Auckland Warriors did for Wade McKinnon. Way to go.

3. I was late because I couldn’t fit into my suit
Plenty of us over-30s have experienced age, food and drink-related waist-creep, requiring us to upgrade and upsize the wardrobe. However, very few of us have used failure to close the top button as an excuse for lateness to work. Not so, Swedish swimmer Therese Alshammar, who (thanks to Dara Torres’ intervention) had the start of the women’s 50m freestyle semi-final delayed by a couple of minutes to allow her to squeeze in and zip up. Shame she’s not a cricketer – we could have had a Timed Out. Shame she couldn’t swim a bit faster too – she was 6th in the race and missed the final.

4. The barista spiked my cappuccino with cocaine and 18 beers
Again, a few of us have rocked up to work once or twice on the wrong end of a big night. I’ve heard numerous stories of mornings split between the boardroom and the bathroom as reckless wage-slaves battle nausea while trying to remain credible to their superiors next door. However, I’ve never heard anyone in that position try to pin their predicament on someone else, whether that someone else be a malicious coffee-maker, a rival employee or Warnie’s Mum. The litany of drug-positive athletes seem not to have the same qualms.

5. I am reluctant to go on that study tour because there is a risk I will be blown up
While I suspect the risks of getting killed in Pakistan are lower than recent publicity suggests, I do have some sympathy for the cricketers on this one. The “security fears” excuse is rarely busted out in the workplace simply because important business trips rarely seem to take place in dangerous and unattractive locations. Sales conferences in Hawaii, fact-finding tours to see state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Europe, office retreats to the Whitsundays, and so on. Strangely, for these trips everyone seems to make themselves available.