Sport is a form of tribalism, an easy way to bond with others, says columnist Maggie Cooper.
Sport is a form of tribalism, an easy way to bond with others, says columnist Maggie Cooper. Rob Wright

The reason why I don't watch any sport (even the Olympics)

I'M NOT quite sure what to say about the recent Australian cricket scandal; it's been comprehensively covered by now.

As I have mentioned a few times here, I don't follow any spectator sport as I consider them to be expensive entertainment, delivered by (thanks to television advertising) highly overpaid people who happen to be good at hitting or kicking a ball.

I think, honestly, I have suffered socially as a result.

Following a team is a form of tribalism; it's a convenient and mostly easy way to bond with others (unless you live in Victoria or Tasmania and follow AFL; then it's a reason to really hate your neighbour).

I'm definitely deficient in water-cooler conversation when others discuss their favourite code, whether it be rugby, women's hockey or tennis. I don't even watch the Olympics.

But from what I have read over the past weeks, cricket isn't the game it used to be.

The almighty dollar has taken over, as it has in so many sports. Winning, at any cost, is the driving force; no win = no job = no large income.

The desire to win is nothing new.

A few years back I had the opportunity to watch some silent footage originally meant to be part of an ABC documentary; as it happened, the filmmaker died tragically before it could be finished.

His name was Boris Cook, and he was connected to a family member of mine which is how I became aware of the clip.

It covered the first Mt Hagen Show in 1963, which was a huge cultural meeting of tribes in Papua New Guinea.

Many of the participants had never seen Europeans; there were some amazing traditional costumes, and bones piercing noses, ears and many other body parts best not mentioned.

Part of the show involved a spear-throwing competition; the challengers, many of whom looked to be not long out of the Stone Age, jeered and catcalled each other.

They also expressed frustration when they blew their turn, stamping their feet and looking very much like they were yelling "Phooey!”.

So, the cricket.

The sheer stupidity of the Aussies offends me almost as much as the cheating itself - how did they think they would not be caught? And a word, lads; lawyering up to protest the bans kind of makes the tears look, well, manufactured.

Having said that, I really dislike the whole sledging trend.

I don't like it in parliament (just watch Question Time and you'll see what I mean), or sport.

It's one thing to suggest one's opponent can't catch a ball, but to insult the mother of his children or, indeed, his mother, is a low act.

It's just not cricket. Or maybe, it is.



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