Interview: The Wet One
Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Unions: Demolition Derby
Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
Politics: American Jihad
Health: Secret Country
Review: Walking On Water
Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
Month In Review
The Locker Room
The Legacy of 11/9
The CFMEU Race Debate #2
Keeping it Clean
Sue the Leaders?
Wrong Way, Go Back
Shame on Murray
Use or Abuse of Long Term Casuals
Speaking in Tongues
The Locker Room
The Laws Of Gravity
"Pro football is not the place for a psychiatrist" Arnold Mandel, US Pro Football Psychiatrist
What is sport?
Is it the thrill of the chase? Is it the uncertain outcome? Is it, as Eric Blair said, war minus the shooting?
Well, if that's the case then accountancy is a sport and rock climbing isn't.
There was a news report the other day that tried to pass off Ballooning as a sport. This left your humble correspondent saddened and depressed.
Truly these are troubled times when any mind escaping pursuit is passed off as some pseudo competition - and even activities that carry no risk are imbued with the palaver that surrounds that intangible beast we will, for argument's sake, call sport.
There is certainly a risk inherent with rock-climbing. The risk is that if you pursue this activity for an length of time then it is highly likely you will spend unhealthy amounts of time in cafes committing the sin of Onan.
"Onan spilt his seed on the ground and the Lord saw and was displeased."
Well, that's what the Bible reckons anyway.
I grew up thinking the Bible was Rugby League Week.
Life was simple. Winter meant hypothermia and watching Queensland get beaten, and summer meant sunstroke and watching Queensland get beaten.
No one went rock-climbing.
Life was good.
Extreme sports were Lacrosse and soccer. I mean, it was a pretty extreme thing to do. You stood a good chance of alienating yourself from sensible company, and becoming a social outcast. What could be more extreme than that?
These days the buzz is steeped in verisimilitude, and we claim our adventures vicariously. What is it that drives a person to engage in a pursuit that has all the trappings of a dangerous exercise, when the actual risk is minimal?
Marketing gurus understand that it is perception, rather than reality, that drives the human mind. If we think it's dangerous then it is. The threat of danger creates thrill. Best of all, because the danger has no
basis in reality, the chances of getting hurt are less than that of crippled prawn in a flock of seagulls.
The reality is rock-climbing is incredibly safe due to an amazing degree of precaution that is taken. If people were really into extreme sports they'd hang out at the Cross-Keys Hotel with an 'ALL BIKERS ARE POOFS' T-shirt on.
But that doesn't suit your yuppified sense of adventure. The problem with extreme sports is that they are actually so sanitised that it becomes a case of 'you want to be there, but you don't want to travel'.
There is no real danger, no chase and the result is pre-determined.
If these people really did have faith in the abilities of their multi-thousand dollar mountain bikes they'd sell their car. But, as we now know, it's the perception that counts.
More people get kicked to death by mules in Australia each year than eaten by sharks, but no one's produced the 'Killer Mules' video.
What these faddish sports do give us is a clue to what sports really are about - it's more ego than id that runs out onto a football ground on a muddy mid-winters afternoon.
Phil Doyle - preparing to take the new ball from the southern end
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