Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
Unions: Joel's Law
National Focus: Spring Carnival
Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
Industrial: The Price of War
Economics: Who's Got What
History: Containing Discontent
Review: An Honourable Wally
Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
Governing the Corporates
The Not So Smart Money
Am I the only person sick of George Gregan's dial appearing everywhere being used to sell everything except his Grandmother?
His extensive marketing contracts appear to be the only reason that the slowest half-back in the world wasn't been dropped from the Australian Rugby team in the lead up to the World (sic) Cup.
The most recent World (sic) Cup would seem to indicate that professionalism has taken Rugby backwards. There already was a professional Rugby code; it's called League, and it does it much better.
In the schizophrenic world of Rugby Union the gap between the best and the rest is growing wider. With professionalism, the private school old boys having an excuse to get together for a beer have been drowned out by the showmanship, palaver and soullessness that accompanies serious big-end-of-town money.
It's a savage irony given that Rugby was, at best, the Liberal Party with a football tucked under its arm.
Rugby is not the international a sport it thinks it is. It is still largely an elitist presence in many countries, while it is embraced wholeheartedly by few.
The danger is that the whole shebang could end up like cricket - fast falling into the 'who gives a rats' category; where national teams with all the charm and character of a rather clinical bulldozer ramp over international opposition with punitive ease. This sort of triumphalism isn't pretty. In fact it's downright evil, as sport is a contest where participation is the measure of success, not some playground proving contest for bragging rights.
Mind you, Rugby League's situation is worse. At least League recognises its limitations. Super League showed us that. It also showed what happens when you leave ponytail wearing marketing wankers with names like Ashley in charge.
These numbnuts would have us believe that sport is something you watch, not something you do. There is no gain for the people at Foxtel to encourage people to get off the sitting down apparatus and actually involve themselves in something like a local sports club.
The fun police in the form of professional sports administrators, insurance companies, marketing hacks, sleazy advertisers, good time Charlies and other hangers-on hinder the efforts of local sporting clubs and the communities they exist in. None of these leeches actually do anything for sport as sport isn't about money, it's about those who participate. If it is measured solely on its return on an investment then it is a business - and it shouldn't pretend to be anything else.
The net result of all this is that participation in sports is in decline.
You would think that would be a concern for those who run our sports. You could think that, and you'd be wrong. Your correspondent's experience from being involved with the Katoomba-Lithgow Mountain Lions Australian Football Club would indicate that, at least in terms of Aussie Rules, administrators could not give the proverbial fat rats clacker whether people were playing the game or not - so long as the elite 'franchise' gets its pound of flesh.
Professional administrators are plainly shocked at the idea of people going out for a weekend to merely enjoy themselves.
There is a myth that the revenues raised from sports are ploughed back into the development of the game. It would appear that the reverse is true. Revenues raised from sports seem to be solely for the benefit of those at the top of the pyramid, with anyone trying to do anything in their community expected to go fend for themselves.
(As an aside, if anyone goes to a Swans Inc. game and gets offered a raffle ticket to 'support junior football', give it a miss - it's for the Swans Inc., not the junior clubs.)
The Locker Room finds it astonishing that someone can support a sport - any sport - and not want to get involved in it at a grass roots level. The grass roots, community sport, is where we measure ourselves. Not as some onanistic pale reflection of someone else's greatness or entertainment-as-spectacle garbage, but where we can measure our own deeds and actions alongside those people we share a community with.
So, with summer on the way, now is the time to get out and get involved in your local cricket, volleyball, wheelchair basketball, darts, mixed netball, touch football, trugo or whatever club. Any good club will make you welcome.
That should free up some energy to spend your sporting speculation as a bystander on something more sensible - like horse racing.
Phil Doyle - dropping a difficult chance at point
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online