Posts Tagged ‘sport’

The lie of “it isn’t cricket.”

March 26, 2018

 

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Our Grandsons at earlier times. Now teenagers!

 

A few days ago the ABC featured an article whereby fathers were trying to come to grips with the upbringing of boys. It was a father and sons article. It featured a photo of young smiling boys with cricket bats in their hands. The perfect roll model for creating future generations of wholesome men. It was presumed that young boys could not fail but to grow up as honourable and steadfastly focussed in pursuing a life on being good and caring adults. Learning cricket with fathers is sure-fire antidote for young boys to the dreadful Trump and Weinstein culture now so pervasive all around them.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-03-24/how-junior-sport-can-help-teach-boys-to-be-good-men/1744754

And then the biggest scandal in cricket exploded. Australia has always been a country of cricket. I remember during the first year of having arrived in Australia I became curious about the steady serious drone of male commentators on radios filtering through the venetian blinds of the suburban street walking on my way home from work. . When I inquired, I was told ‘it is cricket’, ‘don’t you know?’

We now know that the expression; “it isn’t cricket” has to undergo some serious revision. ‘Cheating’ is now embedded in cricket. The fall of this sport from grace is spectacularly shown on every front page and on every TV channel. The cricket ball was tampered with. Every few minutes we are shown the video in slow motion of a world famous cricketer trying to hide a small piece of yellow tape in his underpants. This piece of tape was supposed to alter the cricket ball’s curvature and spin when hurled through the sky on its way to the wooden bat and so presumably give an unfair advantage to one side of the playing teams. The plot to cheat was apparently hatched when during a spell they all were drinking cups of tea. The cricket Captain was involved during the tea break and it met the approval of those ready to win at all cost.

Anyway. For those with long memories, I have always maintained that as long as any sport is run maniacally to win at all cost, it will sooner or later come to a sad end. I even suggested and fostered the idea to have losers declared to be the winners at times. In other words, enjoy the playing of the game no matter what the outcome. Winning is all so overrated.

There are all sorts of sport worms now coming to the fore. In Rugby, rorting with salaries is now being exposed. In cycling a champion had to give up his medals because of taking cycling enhancing drugs. Russian sports people are banned for doping and heaven know what else.  One burly Australian footballer went on a rampage in New York City assaulting a family with children and is welcomed back into his rugby team. Can you believe it?  He hasn’t even apologised and paid the amount of compensation as demanded in a Court of Law.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/aussie-league-stars-new-york-rampage-i-didnt-know-when-help-was-going-to-come/news-story/257c6eb3211f91cb63801ff2a96e357d

Well, young fathers; I would give visiting sports venues with young sons ( why not daughters as well?) a miss for a while. What’s wrong with a nice outing to a library or art gallery, let the kids run wild amongst friendly non combatting books or soak up a good nicely coloured Chagall painting?

It might do some good. Sport is just not ‘cricket’ anymore. That is a great pity!

 

Watch the Matildas wipe AFL and Rugby out of the sporting pages and (lack) marriage equality.

September 21, 2017
Image result for sam kerr backflip

                          Sam Kerr doing the backflip

Move over boys, the women are coming! Nothing has been more exciting than watching women take over the back-page sporting pages away from the men, and not before time. The on-field backflips of Sam Kerr are sweeping the world.

I am normally not interested much in sport and find it a great pity that one is forced to endure sport before the  weather forecast. I often forego the weather report in order to miss a particularly ear-grating sport commentator. The horror of discovering, after our arrival in 1956, that a sport was being played in Australia with a ball that wasn’t round has never really left.

The Australian all girl soccer team of the Matildas is now winning over the admiration of many if not all. The reluctance of allowing women sport to be equal to that of men isn’t yet totally won over, but it is happening. They still play in lesser stadiums and earning lesser pay but the enthusiasm of the crowds are rising rapidly. The Matildas thrice win against Brazil was the clincher. A full proof sign that it is gaining momentum is the fact that our grandsons and their mates are now watching the women soccer games being played on TV.

The spectacular backflips of the main striker Sam Kerr after scoring her goals, are shown world-wide and grabbing attention that could not be improved upon no matter how well the advertising of sponsors.

It’s almost pushing the Same Sex Marriage debate off the news.

Last week on Q&A ( question and answer)  the Israeli politician Merav Michaeli was on the panel who  was sceptical of all marriages and concerned about the effects of break-up marriages on children, the equal rights of property division etc.

“Israeli parliament Merav Michaeli, whose reaction to Seselja’s meandering celebration of heterosexual marriage alongside his scaremongering over the school curriculum was best captured by guest host Virginia Trioli.Trioli to Michaeli: “You didn’t let Zed Seselja get through that answer without lowering your eyes. You have a jaundiced view of this institution?”

Jaundiced isn’t the half of it: “It was created back at the time when we women were commodities, as were children, as were men without property and of other colours. This is not something that we should maintain in the world when we realise all of us are human beings. It is not about love. 

“I realise the campaign says that love is equal. Love is definitely equal. It’s got nothing to do with this institution. This was a tool that was made to dominate women for the sake of reproduction. For men to have legal custody over children which are to the largest I would say chance of certainty their own flesh and blood. This is not something we should sustain.”

The best answer for the ‘yes’ vote was giving by a member of the audience who stated that a ‘no’ vote meant that the marriage between heterosexual people was the only moral right way, and that the ‘yes’ vote was  wrong denying the rights of marriage between people born with different orientations, implying that being different was inherently wrong and of a lesser value.

Of course, no one is obliged to marry, no matter how equal it hopefully might become.

My ‘yes’ vote is in the post.

 

Is Sport overrated?

July 9, 2017

 

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Northern Territory detention centre for children

It wasn’t all that long ago when men and women were sometimes referred to as ‘sport’. Howyergoing ‘sport’? wasn’t all that an uncommon way of greeting. It sometimes still is used. Most countries enjoy playing sport but many if not most  men and women in this country hold the view that sport in Australia is absolutely sacrosanct and not to be fiddled with. Per capita we used to win more Olympic medals that most other countries. Thankfully that has come down somewhat lately.

In fact, going to the school halls of both public or private schools one gets the impression that schools are there mainly to teach students sport. Those large varnished boards nailed to the hallowed walls at school’s community entrances have the best of student’s sporting achievements all carefully emblazoned in gold-leaf lettering. One looks in vain for the best Math or English language students. The more prestigious the school, the more attention given to sport.

Perhaps the economy is impacting those expensive boarding schools now, but in the cinema we  get shorts in which schools advertise their academic menus which more often than not feature boys, and sometimes girls, scrumming around with balls or hockey sticks. I have yet to see school advertisements whereby a book features or a student is pensively looking at a painting.

This why it is so heartening to see that cricket is coming to its senses. Apparently some ‘tours’ are in doubt. There are payment disputes. It is all too complicated for some of us to get to the finer points of the ins and outs. I have always found it a baffling game of two teams wanting to get ‘in’ only to then, when finally ‘in’ ,wanting to get ‘out.’ With the dispute still not solved there is a good chance we will enjoy a nice Christmas without the tedious drone of cricket scores filtering through the vertical blinds.

But, the real bonus, nay, the icing on the cake, is one of our tennis players openly admitting he is ‘bored’ with hitting the tennis ball. What clear-sighted honesty. Such boldness in admitting that hitting a ball backwards and forwards isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Surely, the king is starkers underneath all that emphasis on sport. A footballer who hit another one out cold has now been banned for life playing his ball- sport and is charged by police. Sport is clearly overrated when belting each other on and off field is the norm. Look how often enraged tennis players chuck their rackets. They take it all too seriously. Calm down boys and girls, smell the roses!

In a previous post I suggested that winners should be those that come last. It would calm sport down to what it should be. A concern and care for the opponent rather than a selfish need to be a ‘winner.’ I know that we are all urged by our Government to be winners and not losers but a fact remains that per definition a winner is just a single person. It is a silly aim. How does that fit in with being a country that prides itself on being egalitarian and just?

Look at that sad spectacle of a previous female champion tennis player, reduced now to simpering loudly against those that want to get SSM married. She has lost love for her own kind and that just isn’t  good ‘sport.’ No matter what physical sport one pursues, it is all doomed to slacken with age. And then what?

Our attitude to the refugees on Manus and Nauru sits strangely in all this chest-beating of what it means to have true Australian values. It just isn’t good sport, is it?

What it means to support and stand up for Australia. Have those values been allowed to drift away? Are the values of an Italian or Pole so much different? It all smacks of a silly form of nationalism. I noticed Trudeau from Canada publicly and loudly telling the world Canada  welcomes all refugees.

What would I not give for our immigration minister Dutton or our leader Turnbull to come out strongly for the refugees and for once show what it means to be a ‘GOOD SPORT’ and allow them to live in Australia instead of all the horse trading with America.

Going to the movies

May 22, 2017

new cover 1704 front big Book cover 18april

Over the last week or so we have seen an Opera and two movies. We plan to see another film tomorrow. It is a good way to spend surplus time. Some people tell me they are always short of time. That is admirable. Wasn’t there a play  written about a man that had lost his job but pretended to be still employed by catching the same bus he normally did when still working? Was it ‘The Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller?

I spend a fair amount of time behind the computer, mainly writing stuff. I do so mainly out of pleasure. I do have time. You know how it is with writing words down in a sensible order. Retirement for some bring out a long held desire to play golf or bending down to bowl at a club with likewise elderly bowlers all in white pants and white shoes. I am not in that league. Not yet. I prefer writing to sport. I do like walking and walk a lot.

The movie that really digs into the subject of retirement and resulting curmudgeonly is ‘A man called Ove.’ (By the way, Rotten Tomatoes gave it four and half stars.) It is a Swedish movie about a cranky old man who dominates, out of pure chagrin, the housing estate where he lives. He has recently lost his good wife and feels lost and angry. He is plain nasty and gets gratification out of making life miserable for others. He is not really all that bad though.

It rang a bell for me, if only because we too experienced some of the disadvantages of living on a joint-owned development with a Stasi like ‘committee’ in charge of communal parking,  gardening etc. Out of sheer revenge and spite we had our cyclamen stolen not once but twice by one of the committee members. We have since installed CCTV and a solar-alarm.

The movie too has this wonderful mixture of pathos and humour. Go and see it.

The next movie we enjoyed was yesterday’s  ‘Viceroy’s House.’ A real cracker of a movie. Again, Rotten Tomatoes gave it  four and half stars. This is a totally different movie. A spectacular event with just about everything thrown into it. It has India at the feet of Mother England, but not  for long. In 1947 it gained independence, alas with the formation of Muslim Pakistan which was cut off from India. The last Viceroy Mountbatten was give the task to arrange it in a very short time-frame. Ghandi and all that came with it features it this film. The love between a Hindu man and a Muslim girl spins throughout this movie giving it a strong romantic and humane touch. It could easily have turned schmaltz but it did not. The resulting re-settlement of millions of people to and fro  newly formed Pakistan was something I wasn’t aware of.

A great movie.

A good sleep

February 16, 2017

IMG_0918 front garden August 2016

Is it true that the elderly sleep less? As much as I dislike starting an article about sleep, I wonder about it? So much depends on a good sleep. One of the first thing we ask each other; how was your sleep?  Or, how did you sleep? I know that if the answer is “terrible” we could be in for a torrid day. With the years piling up, more and more memories and life’s baggage gets stored. You wonder if losing a bit of memory is a blessing in disguise.

I have become more forgetful, especially names. It is something that worries some but not me. I have no trouble admitting I don’t know a single name of a recent Olympic champion. I remember Zatopek and Fanny Blankers Koen from the past. I don’t know the name of even a single rugby player of today.  Sport and I are Teflon coated. Water off a ducks back, and gladly so. I feel sorry for all those ex-champions having to cope with a future life without fame, all fading away into so much nothingness. Like all of us really. One ought to be thankful for lacking fame.

We have both keenly taken to a large memory calendar on which we write down future appointments. One of our first appointment will be getting quotes for air conditioning. Next, yearly check ups for doctors, poking around a bit here and there. A hearing check up. That’s all there is so far. I hope to get more interesting appointments written down soon. A date for a trip around the world on a large cruise-liner would be nice. Or, being interviewed about having won a literary competition. Oprah Winfrey talk show invitation?

So far this large desk-top calendar has just those few appointments. No dinner dates or meeting up with our PM Turnbull nor any undertaker. I wonder if he suffers sleepless nights? He isn’t a happy man anymore. Being at the mercy of the extreme charlatans of the right. He must have had a dream for change. Make Australia progressive. Pass legislation hurling Australia into the twenty first century. Even the same sex marriage bill, which most want, including our PM, is now slipping away. Why doesn’t he have the guts of his convictions and go for needed change? He might loose his Prime ministership, but he can say; I tried!

No appointment needed for the date with autumn. A few golden-auburn Liquid Amber (Liquidambar styraciflua)  leaves have arrived already. We can’t get to cooler weather soon enough. We are now troubled by having seen a very nice free-standing house opposite where we live. It has a beautiful garden and a workshop-cum extra little living space (for times during marital upheavals/differences/ enthusiastic outbursts.) It has its own men’s shed really!  I could finally make a rabbit hutch. The house itself has more space. Above all, it would allow us to get away from the Body corporate and its Strata witchcraft. No more stolen plants or bullying threats from ropable divorcées.

We really like living in this town-house. It is convenient and so much work  Helvi put in the garden. The problem is that old trees don’t easily get re-planted elsewhere. Are we old trees? While not saplings, we don’t feel like gnarled oaks. What do you reckon? Should we move? It would be rather painless moving across the road and being able to give the ‘finger-up’ to Body Corporate/Strata witches. Mind you, retaliation isn’t an answer to bullying.

What do youse reckon?

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The return! (Auto-Biography)

August 16, 2015

While the three years in Holland are worthy of a book-tome on its own, I have to move on. Time is of the essence. Having arrived at seventy-five since the  seventh of August this year, and with at least another forty years to record, I must move on from the nineteen- seventies. A derailment is a possibility! Still, I must remain sanguine and take heart from the statistics that tell me there is an eighty percent chance of turning eighty- five for those that are in good health at seventy- five. However the odds of turning ninety-five at eighty-five years of age are less cheerful.

A few art shows followed the primary school triptych commission. Here and there paintings were sold and generally things were steaming along nicely. Our three children were growing fast but not so fast that driving around in the Kombi wasn’t at times a somewhat difficult  and testing task. Young children on long car trips is a job too far. Who would not be bored sitting confined in a metal box on rotating rubber wheels? Instead of long drives, we  set up tents in the paddocks together with sheep and Shetlands.  It was a blessing. The kids loved it and with two tents, they could swap around if there were disagreements on which teddy to sleep with or who had pinched an extra biscuit.

My brother Frank with his long suffering chronic schizophrenia was finally repatriated and taken back to Holland in 1975. Australia doesn’t serve the disadvantaged well.  It had been a hell. In bewildered desperation he had jumped off the Pyrmont bridge in Sydney. His left foot was to become forever damaged. He was fortunate to have survived the jump.

Years of tussles between the Australian bureaucracy and my parents did not resolve the lack of care for Frank. He would either be free to come and go as he liked, or, the alternative, have him ‘scheduled’ and he would never come home. The idea of ‘scheduling’ Frank into an Australian institute filled us all with horror. There did not seem to be anything in between. The very term ‘scheduled’ brings Charles Dickens and Bedlam into focus. Even today, I would not want to hear Mental Health and Australia mentioned in the same sentence. At least not during that period. When Frank jumped off the Pyrmont bridge he had for some years joined that army of the dishevelled, the uncombed and lost souls that roam streets, hovering between a vague sanity and death without much care by others except for the desperate parents or a rare kind person that would at times provide food, shelter and some encouraging words.

 

Two Dutch carers from Holland came to pick Frank up from Sydney and he was flown back to Holland together with my parents. It would not have been easy to have a mentally ill person on a plane, but the Dutch Government would have complied with the relevant regulations. One can imagine! My parents were informed of what to expect for Frank in the care of Dutch social welfare and mental health. He had a room on his own with TV, encouraged to play sport and swim. He would have his own income and free to do with it what he liked. ( mainly cigarettes) . My parents would be at all times kept informed about his health, medication. He would be given dental care, his feet, eyes, all would be looked at and maintained. His days would be spent with activities and at times would be taken in groups on outings, excursions, holidays; even at one stage to France! My parents were free to visit and Frank free to visit his parents but accompanied by nursing staff.

Helvi and I remember once visiting Frank at his new place in Holland and asked if we could speak to his doctor and staff. We were given a lunch, sat around the table talking to the psychiatrist, his doctor, staff and given all the information to do with Frank’s care. An unbelievable and wonderful experience. A weight was lifted from our family. Why was that so difficult to achieve in Australia?

My parents also left Australia for good and decided to be with Frank and own extended family of brothers and sisters. A considerable number had moved into an age in tandem with themselves. Their numerous children were now adults with own families. Many parents now retired and care-free to enjoy life, paint the town red, or if not red at least take a floating tour on the rivers of Europe, sipping champagne and soak up Habsburg’s castles perched on steep cliffs and rocky outposts.

My parents had put up their house for sale in Revesby, that would afford them a little nest egg. It was for them the right thing to do. They would be with Frank and their own family. The rest of us had settled, married and had children of our own.And then..like a bolt of lightning, we decided, or rather I decided, to return to Australia… But of that…next time.

Chess instead of Sport

March 13, 2011

Chess instead of sportPosted on March 11, 2011 by gerard oosterman

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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.