For the first time since 1952, Australians won’t be able to listen to the Olympic Games on the ABC.
My sporting goal for 2012 is to learn to love a new sport. I’m not looking for the seedy, fumbling-excitement of an Olympic one night stand with some exotic yet closeted sports like Greco-roman wrestling or archery.
I’m looking for love: Madame Bovary style.
You see any new sport would have to accept that I will never leave rugby. I want to be clear and honest in my deception and commit myself, from the outset to nothing more than a sporting affair. Like Schrodinger, I’m hoping that a bit on the side will lead to a new level of understanding.
For Schrodinger it led to his famous equation in the field of quantum mechanics. I have far grander plans – Hamilton’s Universal Theory of Rugby – but more on that in future posts.
Before perusing my options for an alternate source of rumpy, let me first reassure you, my dear rugby, that my wandering eye is not the result of any short-coming in you. I still love you, baby.
Let’s just call this a pre-emptive mid-life crisis and celebrate the fact that we have been together for nigh on thirty happy years without a single incident.
The hard part about looking for a partner in infidelity is resolving the issue of similarity. A good mistress should in no way remind one of the lady of the house.
In the absence of an actual quotation I am going to attribute that rather Downton Abbey sounding statement to every character played by Maggie Smith, ever.
It seems like both good advice and a line she would deliver quite well.
As a best man I once tried to address this issue by making the single request of the suppliers of the buck’s night entertainment that none of the lovely ladies involved in the evening’s ‘show’ (for that word really does get to the heart of what those girls did) had the same name or hair colour as the bride to be. Sadly, inevitably, and decidedly comically, I was to be satisfied on neither account.
From that day I resolved never again to ask a stripper her real name however I have found that questions regarding their real hair colour usually prove redundant.
Having learnt my lesson, and now leaving nothing to chance, I do not intend to spend my time liaising with any of the various misinterpretations of rugby that misguide the youth of so many parts of the world. Perhaps subconsciously testing my own wisdom on this issue, the first opportunity I had this year to sit down and watch some televised sport was spent in the addictive yet sadly empty clutches of American Football.
My immediate impression was of a more economical and television friendly version of rugby league. One of the rather fundamental elements missing, presumably removed by an accountant’s pen, was a certain sense of integrity as seen in the repeated concession of the end of a play brought about by ball carriers preferring to drop to the ground rather than suffer to be tackled.
Having witnessed this abomination of God’s law take place several plays in a row I felt the growing certainty that somewhere out there Sir Les Patterson was heckling from his beer-stained blue velor couch something that rhymed with ‘horses hoofs’. There are, no doubt, plentiful reasons and excuses for this habit among the players of this most American of sports but none of them are excusable.
My feelings are much the same for football players who dive without having been touched however at least those blokes haven’t the front to first dress themselves like the next step up in an Arnold Schwarzenegger shaped babushka doll set.
I am sure that there are supporters of either sport who would happily return stony fire at my rugbeian glass house but, bedecked in my finest tweed blazer, I remain a man convinced of rugby’s superiority in the matter and entertain no thoughts to the contrary. As those members of the online community less inclined to utilise the full might of the Queen’s English might declare, end of.
If pressed to rank the sports I would have to give soccer the edge on account of the desire of the general French populace to play it. A sport devoid of Frenchman renders itself helpless before the tides of logic and sensibility. I can think of nothing worse.
Actually stop right there and picture, if you will the game of cricket with the added nonsense and brilliance of French temperament thrown in. In an alternate universe such a wonder exists.
Now, to the veritable milf-island of willing and available sports, all smoking hot and gagging for my attention do I turn. Basketball, cricket, netball and pig-shooting I have all known and loved. Boxing and a goodly dose of motorsport too. I’ll need wider nets and a bigger boat.
The Gaelic form of physical abuse known as hurling does draw one’s eye with its provocative mix of battery and assault. Like a codified form of fighting zombies with cricket bats, the actions of each player remind me of an old man’s stories of his time as a strike breaker, disrupting picket lines with a lump of two by four. Where are the strikebreakers of yesteryear and who fights for their rights?
Ice Hockey bears the same brand of violence and dexterity and, after discovering the Tragically Hip, I have long been in favour of all things generally Canadian in feel or appearance. On that note I once had cause to attend a class at a high school in British Columbia by the name of DW Poppy. I have no idea what the DW stood for but am still struck by the memory of how good looking the female pupils of that institution were.
As I was of school age myself at the time and am now speaking of women who have long since grown up and above the age of consent I do not hold the memory in any way to be Gary Glitter-esque however, for those not inhibited by such concerns, go and check the place out and then report yourself to the nearest mounted constabulary.
Spotting in my search the early trend towards violence in sport, I am immediately aware of the presence of the phenomenon known as mixed martial arts. It strikes me as a sport mostly watched by suburban middle class kids who like to imagine that they could exchange or sustain the necessary amounts of pain required and not just pretend to do so in front of their 42 inch plasmas.
Also, MMA bears the regrettable stain of all sports that spawned or expanded in popularity in the nineties; that vulgar, commercialised something usually identified by the preface ‘X’.
For that reason MMA will forever remain fighting’s Fred Durst to boxing’s Bob Dylan.
Pub sports appeal to me in the same way pub snacks do. I love darts, pool, pork crackling and wasabi coated peanuts but none of them would really satisfy my appetite nor provide a long term nutritious alternative.
Sailing, rowing, cycling; you do not belong on television and I have nothing for you.
Cliff diving – yes. Rodeo clowning – yes.
I fear that the results of my search are quite limited and while accepting that my fling is unlikely to be with Afghan goat carcass polo or the like, I do need your help, readers of The Roar. Help me find a new sport for a new year.