Cheating Australian Cricketers

Cameron Bancroft of the Australian cricket team was caught on camera tampering with the game ball during the test match in South Africa yesterday.

Bancroft and captain Steve Smith fronted up to a media conference, admitted in detail how they had planned to and then executed their plan to cheat, then spoke of “moving on” and it not “happening again”.

The Australian sporting public, and indeed the International Cricket community, are livid.

What is it in us that has reacted so strongly, to something that at the end of the day, is just a game?

The entire basis of sporting competition is to put your best foot forward, and those who perform at the highest level are rewarded by being deemed winners. Talent isn’t fair. Life dishes it out differently to all of us. But within the confines of a game that has clearly defined rules and boundaries, everyone is given a shot to do the best that they can with the talent they have been given.

Not so when rules are broken, on purpose, with the intent to make the contest unfair.

The ball is not to be tampered with. The bowlers are to try to do the best that they can in the way that they bowl the ball, not in changing the ball itself.

We have a national team captain in Smith openly admitting (when caught) to blatant cheating.

Smith sitting there in a media conference, explaining to us exactly how it happened, and then expecting that to be the end of the matter.

We cheated, we know we shouldn’t have, sorry about that. All ok now, right?

Anyone who watched Dean and Tracey on Married At First Sight last week can answer that question: no, it’s not all ok now. Saying sorry quickly afterwards doesn’t change the fact that you cheated. Something has shifted. As in relationships, so too in sport.

It doesn’t matter if you think other teams are doing it too. They too are in the wrong. Others doing something wrong has never been a good defence for why you decided to do the same.

The essence of sport falls down when people cheat. The integrity of sport is what makes sport worthwhile, and what gives audiences enjoyment.

A national sporting team holds up the values of the country. We do not want to be known as a country of cheaters, and yet that is what is reflected today.

My husband is a cricket lover and said tonight “I would rather we lose the Ashes many times over playing fairly than win a game because we cheated”.

Cheating makes sport empty and soulless. Don’t do that to us. And Steve Smith, let me borrow sentiment from Tracey on behalf of Australia: you don’t deserve us.

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Venus And Mars

So I had a realisation this week.

It may have been obvious to everyone else already, but to me it was new, hilarious and profound.

Maybe profound isn’t the right word.

My realisation was that I had basically had the same conversation twice this week.

Discussing the true contenders, those just making up the numbers, who would be first to be eliminated. And amongst the true contenders, who could win? Who will make the final? Why could each contender possibly be the winner? Pros and cons.

The first conversation was about the upcoming AFL finals.

The second was about The Bachelor.

So maybe women and men aren’t that different after all? Venus and Mars are both planets.

Footy And Life

There’s been quite a lot of disappointing news about AFL footballers over the last few weeks, predominantly incidents where players have punched others on the field.

It’s not a good look for the sport, and as a fan it’s pretty frustrating.

But it’s made me think back to a moment that’s stuck with me, a moment where I thought “wow, he gets it” when listening to a footballer speak.

It was 2010, Brownlow Medal night (Australian football’s MVP medal for all those non-Aussies) and the winner was giving his acceptance speech.

It was Chris Judd.

He used the word “real” multiple times. Pointing out that football isn’t the real world. That the heroes of football aren’t the real heroes in life. That they have a place as role models for kids, but they’re not the real role models.

He talked about his motivation for moving back to Melbourne from Perth, changing football clubs, as wanting “a life outside of the footy club”.

This man isn’t perfect, but he understands.

He was awarded the AFL’s highest individual honour, twice. He won a premiership, and as team captain. He was captain of two teams. He played at the highest level, but he still kept in perspective that it is just a game.

At the end of the day, it’s not real; it’s just a game. It’s not the real battle. He loved football, but he knew that there is more to life than football.

And I was so glad that night, listening to him, that his talent in this sport gave him the microphone. That as much as he shied away from being a role model, in that speech he shone through as one.

Love your sport, kids.

Play hard.

Play well.

Don’t give in.

Succeed.

Enjoy it.

But remember that it’s just a game.

Weight for Cash

I was scrolling through some NFL news the other day when something caught my attention. It was an article about Seattle running back Eddie Lacy, and oh has it given me ideas.

Nothing to do with his performance in the off-season. No, no. It was just commenting on Eddie getting paid $55,000 this week for meeting a weight loss goal. $55,000. And another $55,000 next time if he meets his weight requirement again.

That’s right folks. Exchange your weight for cash. 

Of course this excited me. Two birds with one stone! Boost bank account, lose weight. I have finally worked out the secret to weight loss. This is probably what all those Hollywood types tapped into years ago! 

If someone paid me $55,000 I could lose that weight before you could drive through the drive through and order a cheeseburger with fries, chocolate thickshake, and 50 cent cone. (I’m still so mad they’re not 30 cents anymore).

So now I’ve got the plan all sorted out, all I need to do is find someone to pay me to lose weight. 

Until then, public service announcement: Aldi Australia brought back coffee and cream chocolate blocks. I bought three.

Wind and dirt and heart

I’m a bit of a sports lover. Some of my friends hate sports. Playing them, watching them. And I understand where they’re coming from. People have bad experiences playing sport, or with people that play sport.

I think it’s a shame though, because I have always loved sport and what it can mean, all different sports. But always team sports.

There’s just something about it; pushing yourself physically next to others doing the same, for a common goal. Not wanting to let them down, even when you just want to lie down on the ground and never get up. Running that extra few minutes, persevering for just that little bit longer. 

In the game, reading the play, trying to work out what the other team is doing, what their plan is. Working together to thwart it. 

All in real time. Constant movement.

With wind in your hair and mud on your knees and bruises on your ankles.

Celebrating when your teammate kicks the goal or clears the ball or makes the tackle. 

Yelling encouragement when they miss. Picking each other up out of the dirt when we fall.

Standing together in a line with your arms around each other, being a team. Shaking hands with the opposition, in a sign that it’s just a game, we are not enemies. They won, they played better than us.

Eating orange pieces and laughing together over something that happened in the game. 

Sport.

It’s wind and dirt and heart.