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The Forum > Article Comments > The art of losing > Comments

The art of losing : Comments

By Joff Lelliott, published 6/7/2006

Stop having a teary and learn to accept losing with much more grace.

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There is no sensible reason for Australia to become a “truly great sporting nation”. Whatever stage we are at now is bad enough: equal, more on weekends, coverage given to sport with serious news on TV and radio. Sportspeople treated as “heroes” when most of them are boneheads who can’t get a proper, useful job. Health resources overused by people playing anything from football to women’s basketball. Has-beens crippled with arthritis and other permanent complaints gained in their sport – adding to the health cost burden in old age.

The most pathetic thing about sport is that the most popular genres are spectator events. Thousands of people live through their “heroes” every weekend – and think and talk about them through the week - instead of achieving something for themselves, and keeping alert to the really important things affecting their lives.

This living through others is probably the cause of Australians becoming the mindless mass that they have- with a few high achievers being the exception.

Sport is the opiate of the Australian masses, dulling their awareness of real life and the things that are needed to make Australia a great nation.

The politicians will always be willing to provide ‘bread and circuses’ to keep the populace dull and off their backs!
Posted by Leigh, Thursday, 6 July 2006 12:26:43 PM
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I'll never believe a professional sportperson any more who says (s)he is going out there to enjoy it and just have some fun!

Soccer is a billion dollar industry and players will go all out to win. That includes pushing the rules to their limits and arguing with the umpire. Professional sportsmen are just that; professional, they are in there for the money not sportsmanship. The cynic in me wonders how much of the teary eyed stuff is for the benefit of self image. Shedding a few tears creates an image of high passion and patriotism which in turn makes the sobber more marketable in his home country.

Unfortunately this spills over into social sports. As a social hockey player we have to do occasional umpiring duty. Every second childrens game I have umpired I had to tell a parent off because of the torrents of abuse coming out of him. I am no professional referee and make the occasional mistake but these people are not setting the right example. Usually this happens when a side is losing badly and reversing a decision wouldn't make any difference.

Sports definitely takes the focus of politics and winning a major event makes the whole nation feel better. Nothing pollies love more than dose of good ol' nationalism but that is a topic for another discussion.
Posted by gusi, Thursday, 6 July 2006 4:53:08 PM
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Dear Leigh, Thank you for that completely unrelated rant on the sports 'bread and circus' phenomenon. Much as I would like to debate your assertions that our hospitals are filled with fools who have endeavoured to remain healthy through sport, or that those of us who like sport are obviously non-achievers, (as opposed to such high achievers as yourself, perhaps?) I feel I should limit myself to the topic at hand.

How about those poor Aussie losers, eh?
Posted by eldorado, Thursday, 6 July 2006 8:58:37 PM
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well I for one had not realised we were sore losers and should be ashamed for breathing or speaking. I think we all just got excited about the world cup, felt ripped off but expected the italians to be actresses anyway. Perhaps the author is confused by all the sporting talk rather than the sporting atmosphere. No fan has committed suicide yet as one does in Rio nor are we planning to chop off the legs of the team in that african kind of way.

Actually, I thought "our" general reaction was summed up nicely by lucas neill who was after alll right in the thick of it in the last eight seconds of the 94th minute..

"I hold myself responsible for being involved in the incident. There was so much belief. The whole of the world was drawn in by the way we were playing. Supporters of other teams started to really favour Australia. A lot of other teams were really not performing to expectation and Australia had no expectation.

"We put in unbelievably passionate performances and other supporters were saying they wished their team had that much pride and enthusiasm for the game and no fear and enjoyed being there. We won so many fans and everyone was gutted that we went out, except for the seeded teams in the tournament who were all running scared of us.

"I don't know if it is because in Australia we are brought up to be too honest and too competitive and play hard but win fair but I suppose when people look back they are not going to care too much about their personality if they have six or seven medals to show for it. No one is going to care if they are a cheat. Maybe they are all smart and we are just stupid."

To comfort the author, Neill did add with that great flourish of appalling parthian hyperbole that runs rampant through mindless sport such as this: "I'm disappointed."
Posted by Ro, Friday, 7 July 2006 6:08:49 PM
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For those who agree with Joff, I strongly suggest they think long and hard about what countries are more sporting and if there are any, whether they are 'truly great sporting nations,' whatever that means.

With very few exceptions I can't see how anyone could seriously complain about Australian sportsmanship. Yes we're dissapointed to have exited the World Cup, yes the ref's decision was questionable, and yes people have muttered about it. So? Point to a country that celebrates it's departure from such an occasion in such a manner.

Sure, Kewell's outburst was less than perfect, but in the context of soccer generally we are way ahead of the competition in terms of our sportsmanship.

Sure, Greg and Trevor Chappell screwed up with that one, single under-arm delivery, and don't we eternally hear about it. To this day, in all these years, that's the sporting incident Australians are probably the most ashamed of. Not an eye gouging incident, not the murder of failed athlete, not the throwing of a match, the mere use of a loophole in the rules to win a game. Frankly, I suspect that's a pretty good record.

Sure Leyton occasionally loses his cool. So what. Professional sportsmen are individuals, if a Nations 'greatness' in any field is to be defined by the occasional acts of one or two individuals then no nation can hope to achieve this fictitious state of 'truly great!' What about Rafter? If he isn't a nice guy then no one is!

And using Germany as an example of a great nation of sportmen is farcical. Wasn't it a 'crazed' German fan who stabbed Monica Selles because she kept beating his beloved Steffi Graf? Heck, World War II can be described as a consequence of Germany's 'unsporting' acceptance of the outcome of WWI.
Posted by Kalin, Saturday, 8 July 2006 10:44:38 AM
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