Interview: Muscling Up
Unions: Thinking Pink
Bad Boss: Global Bully
Unions: National Focus
Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
History: Young Blood
Industrial: Living For Work?
International: Fighting Together
Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Review: Human Racing
The Locker Room
A New Mark for Labor
Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
The Locker Room
The best lack all conviction
and the worst are full of passionate intensity"
- W. B. Yeats
It is the end of an era.
Steve Waugh's Farewell Tour has commenced.
The quiet man of Australian cricket will take his bat and go home after the Sydney test. He will step down from the highest public office in the land, the captaincy of the Australian test cricket team.
In an extraordinary move, that must contravene Federal competition policy, the professional weirdos at the Australian Cricket Board have named a successor; none other than the bar room brawler from the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar, Ricky Ponting.
(Did you ever hear the one about the Big Brown Bear in the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar? Well, we'll save that for another time...)
Punter Ponting can't be too bad given that he has a predilection for the dishlickers; but how will the shadow of his predecessor hang over the enigmatic Taswegian?
Mark Taylor always reminded people of the brother-in-law's mate whose name you can never remember. A nice enough bloke, but hardly an inspirer of affection or real admiration in the way, say, Alan Border ground his way relentlessly into the hearts of Australia's cricket fancying public.
Waugh's retirement (funny that no one says resignation) has a pedigree of course. Waugh would have seen how the Australian selectors treated A.B. in his declining years.
No one lasts forever, which is some relief when one considers George Gregan, but most people in Cricket greeted the loss of Waugh with a sense of inevitable sadness.
Certainly the reaction didn't match the popping champagne corks that accompanied news that failed copper Bill Harrigan was chucking it in. The man should be commended for services to Rugby League; the only minus being that he should have made the decision about fifteen years ago.
Referees shouldn't be personalities; they should be invisible. The behaviour of Bill, following as it does in the Jimmy Sharman tradition of Greg "Hollywood" Hartley, was often embarrassing, seldom edifying. The game will be richer for his absence.
Tony Lockett tried to retire, but the Swans needed him for 'marketing purposes'. Marketing is the heart and soul of the Swans, and Tony was there to answer the call when the Swans' bank account needed him most. He returned from retirement.
Unfortunately he was a fit as a flat tyre and his return to the top flight was less than glorious. Still, it had the desired effect and put a few bums on seats at the SCG and that's the important thing, isn't it.
Cathy Freeman retired. Now she can flog mattresses and enjoy life after the hoopla. Her relief was palpable. After carrying the weight of a nation's expectations, and acting as some bizarre substitute for reconciliation, being the fastest woman over 400 metres must have been a breeze.
In what must have been one of the beat-ups of the year Cathy was asked on retirement if she planned a future in politics.
Continuing in the Australian tradition of treating indigenous Australia as some two-dimensional issue that simply needs a few of "their" sports people to pop onto the world stage as a sign that we're all equal now is, to say the least, unhelpful.
No one asked Mark Waugh if he was going into politics when he retired; which is probably a good thing, he seemed to get lost every time he tried to get to an NRMA Board meeting, poor chap.
Speaking of chaps, no one can accuse Llittle Lleyton Hewitt of being the retiring type, however much we'd like him to.
Pat Rafter - who also won a US Open, only with poise, grace and humility - did the Tony Lockett trick: tried to retire, wasn't very good at it, but got it right the second time.
You have to applaud that sort of persistence.
Chris Anderson retired, sort of.
Anderson is a living embodiment of the maxim that some are born retired, some achieve retirement, and others have retirement thrust upon them.
It's something our prime Minister may wish to contemplate over Summer: If all else fails, retire.
Phil Doyle - blocked for a run at the 600 metre mark
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