If Sportsbet were paying out on the overuse of the word ‘proactive’, then David Smith would have taken them to the cleaners already, and he’s only been in the job for a few sleeps (less if you count the nights of no sleep … you can get stuff for that I believe …).
Likewise, if odds were taken on the overuse of the word ‘hindsight’ in today’s swimming press conference, then they’d be 10-toes up by now. Sorry, a little of the Dr’s black humour there, with ‘10-toes up’ meaning ‘brown bread’ … ah, fugeddaboudit.
The two sports are now fused together under the umbrella of controversy that envelopes a whole code or team when, in fact, the majority are clean.
The fact is that this press conference only went ahead because the whispers of a story wouldn’t go away. It is the same with any public mea culpa, really. The “I’m sorry” part of the equation usually has the unmentioned, but palpable “… for being caught” wafting in the ether close behind. Or if I’m using the tech-savvy word, cloud …
If anyone believes the behaviour of our wayward Weapons of Mass Delusion (and the reported bullying) was a strictly one-time affair, then they must have come down in the last shower. Not only is the behaviour a disappointing letdown of the public at large who only EVER want to support them, but it is a disgrace that young first-time Olympians had to endure the unnecessary creation of a toxic Lord of the Flies environment rather than a warm arm around the shoulder and encouraging word. Now THAT is what being an Aussie is all about.
And the worst part? No-one’s surprised! You could’ve cast a napkin over the ringleaders 5mths ago. And now the media does its best impersonation of AM breakfast raio hosts by expounding upon the obvious with a sense of revelation.
The Australian swimming team is as close to quintessential ‘Strayan-ness’ as Kangaroos, Koalas and budgie smugglers. What we have here is a rising endemic of spoiled and ungrateful athletes who seem to have profound ‘I’ problems (when they’re not referring to themselves in the 3rd person, that is).
It’s not necessarily limited to swimming, to be fair, but the messages of today’s presser are loud and clear:
- Lack of leadership – by the team officials, led by the avuncular, she’ll be right Leigh Nugent, and filtering down through the swimming leadership group, who either didn’t have the spunk to do something about it, or didn’t feel supported in doing so;
- Lack of focus – Whether this was a one-night Stilnox party or not (right …), it lifts a veil on the resolve and determination of sections of the squad. When athletes allow extraneous, irrelevant and complicating factors to intervene, their preparation is absolutely affected. I don’t buy the newly facially scrubbed Magnussen’s claim to the contrary for a second. And I have the same opinion of the walking twitterfest that defined some of the squad. Being selected for Australia is an honour, not a right, and a little focus is not much to ask for.
- And the little fact that the chaps seemed better prepared for this press conference than they did for their races!
I still recall as a kid screaming for John McEnroe to win matches at the Australian Open in particular, and feeling crushed when he lost (or got defaulted). But after reading his biography and the turmoil going on in his life and head, I came to realise he didn’t stand a chance of winning those matches. Loss of focus seems to have a fairly predictable effect on results …
As a sports lover, I don’t want to see my favourite sports – any sports – completely lose their soul and joi de vivre to either money, feelings of entitlement, or more nefarious endeavours.
I want them to be like the swimming carnival I attended today where the kids were excited to compete, happy if they came 2nd, or if they got pipped for 4th.
Any hoot, I’m off to test out another not-fit-for-human-consumption experimental drug. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it is a lovely shade of blue and I’m sure it’ll have me whinnying like a horse by kick-off tonight.
Oh, and for what it’s worth – Rabbitohs by 30, Roosters by 10
And God help our cricketers …