It used to be that chucking out the sport-pages together with real-estate sections of the newspapers one would avoid the most tedious part of news. Even that little treat is now being denied. Sport is front page news and no sport seems more newsworthy than the latest punch-up. How sport and punch-ups, including glassing girlfriends, running/manufacturing/ taking drugs, drink driving etc ever became mixed-up so often with sport and mainstream news is not precisely known.
But, what is known, that for decades now while watching TV during news broadcast, especially on the Commercial channels, one would get treated to lengthy footage of sport-people in suits leaving a special Court. This was often followed by sections of film where some kind of brawl or small riot had occurred while playing sport. The odd thing was that going to Court did not do much. Day after day, the same footage and often the same sportspeople would be strolling out of court. They were mainly rather brawny and muscular looking men with enormous chins given to big scowling smirks and also, going by their monosyllabic answers to journalist questions, not appearing to be the sharpest tools in the shed. ..Or if not appearing alert, they perhaps not had the benefit of a good English teacher some years before. Was education with so much emphasis on the ‘winning’ of sport already then grooming future young people into becoming first winners, then punch throwers and boozers?
In any case, those endless repeat footages of those players leaving Court was not unlike cheap cow boy movies showing the same chase going past the same set of rocks over and over again. And so it was allowed to continue. In fact, I suspect, the whole idea of sport discipline was clearly seen as a charade, good TV footage, and perhaps even accepted as being part of sport. Sport became the ‘punch-up’. If it involved a Court appearance, it just spiced it all up. Almost like a good free advertisement.
With the latest batch of brawls and punch-ups, the inevitable event is then often ascribed to having been ’fuelled’ by alcohol. It is again seen as something as part and parcel of sport. By the way, it is not always just a punch-up or glassing that is fuelled by drink, no, some driving offences by sportspeople are also involving alcohol. You definitely get the impression that sport and alcohol does add up to bad behavior including violence, driving offences and a Court appearances. Overall though, we still seem to continue making exceptions for it. If it is sport and especially if they are well known sport people, anything in sport is possible and seemingly allowed.
Anyway, of late one could be forgiven for wishing and hoping that all those sports be banned, including the’ best of the players’, because even the ‘best’ are now seen to have caught the’ punch-up’ bug. The violent outbursts, punching in public and ‘fuelled’ by alcohol are often done at the crack of dawn. That seems to be another mystery, what are they doing at that time? Are they not on a strict kind of routine, keeping good hours, good diets, drinking butter milk eating rye bread, and eating fresh fruit?
If sport ought to equal good robust health, fitness and agility, and something for our youngsters to aspire to, then that kind of brawling sport has hopelessly lost its way. There is no way that parents can be expected to continue to accept the present sport, especially those games with the oblong ball, as being positive and healthy for our young and vulnerable.
Even, the way sport has been allowed to dominate our schools ought to be questioned. The introduction of so much competitive sport seems to encourage and fuel ‘winning’ much more than just enjoyment and fitness. In any case it hasn’t led to fitness with our obesity amongst the young getting worse. Winning at all costs might well be why so many become to accept that violence is one way of winning. If you can knock over your opponent, you are closer to a win. Once on this slippery road, a few years later and with alcohol now firmly entrenched, voila, another future football thug is on its way.
The way out would be to make physical fitness important and ease off on this manic obsession with competitive sport. Schools are where the young are supposed to grow into caring considerate people and not into ‘winners and losers’, whereby sporting achievements are often judged way above their true worth or value. Sport in Australia might have to be looked at and perhaps seen as somewhat overrated.
I would much rather have my kids be good chess players and be fit, healthy, considered and caring above all, than turn into some sport hero who can only express himself/ herself off and on field, by assaulting, taking drugs , and booze ups. I have yet to hear of a chess player being in Court on punch-up charges or drink driving. Let’s hope that with the recent exposure of so much sport being brought into disrepute that those experts in education will lift their game and put gymnasiums for fitness and chess competition for brains into all schools and put competitive sport on the backburner.