Tag Archives: Australia

The one where I lament the loss of Phillip Hughes.

Yesterday, Australia and the cricketing world were rocked by news that young Aussie opening batsman Phillip Hughes had succumbed to a catastrophic head injury after being hit by a bouncer at the SCG on Tuesday.

I would have written this post yesterday, but truthfully, I was too emotional. To say that I am heartbroken over the loss of a man I have never met seems to sell the feeling short.

After news broke yesterday afternoon, myself and two of my colleagues gathered in my office to discuss the tragedy, all three of us were teary and surprised by the level by which we were affected – my two colleagues in particular who freely admit that they have no interest in cricket had difficulty reconciling their responses since they were not invested in the sport in any way.

So, why had it hit us so hard? I think the truth of it was that none of us really knew how seriously Phil was injured. Because it’s cricket – a beautiful game, a gentleman’s game. People don’t die playing cricket, Phillip Hughes wouldn’t die. But they do, and he did.

The death of a young man in any situation is a tragedy, but when talking about it further, we came to realise that the reason this death felt so wrong was because of how unprecedented it was given the nature of the sport.

Take a race car driver, or a rugby player for example. If an athlete of that type had been killed or injured whilst competing, I would be shocked and saddened, but it’s something that happens sometimes, and despite how horrible those occurrences are, the athletes are aware of the associated risks. They will have weighed up those risks with their desire to compete and decided that the risks are acceptable. I don’t believe Phillip Hughes would have ever had that opportunity since I can’t imagine a situation where a cricketer would step up to the crease and wonder if they would survive the next over.

And there’s the rub, and it’s infinitely sad.

A little legend, and by all accounts a super nice guy who paid a very steep price for playing the game he loved. Vale Phillip Hughes. Forever 63, not out.

And to you Sean Abbott, I believe I can speak for the entire country, if not the entire world when I say; mate, it’s not your fault. I wish the young paceman all the best and hope he gets what he needs to move past this tragedy, no young man should have to carry such a burden.

I’m ok with Zack Greinke not being excited to play in Australia

A couple of days ago, LA Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke commented that there was “absolutely zero excitement” about playing the MLB  opening series in Australia next month, which had Australians up in arms. Seriously, I couldn’t believe some of the dumb shit posted on Facebook…..starting with the Daily Telegraph who labelled their post with one word, “Charming”. Because that isn’t inflammatory at all.

Here are some of the more noteworthy comments from my genius countrymen via the Daily Telegraph’s Facebook page (honestly, sometimes I’m ashamed of my people. Sigh) :

Don’t worry Zack Greinke, Australians have “zero excitement” for the L.A dodgers and baseball. As we tell everyone who doesn’t like being in Australia – feel free to leave anytime

From my understanding there is zero excitement for the dodgers being in oz

We don’t care who you are zack greinke, in Australia if you can’t respect us we’ll show you the door

Princesses. Another American sport that thinks its bigger than it actually is.

Easy – don’t come loser

What these ignorant bogans fail to realise is that the players aren’t given a choice here, and whilst I’m sure there are players who are ok with the trip to Australia, I’m not surprised that there are some who aren’t cool with it. I remember a couple of months back, Clayton Kershaw (who may or may not be making the trip) commented that he would love to come here for holiday, however, he wasn’t at all keen to come here to play.  I don’t blame him. It’s a gimmick, designed to proffer baseball to the world, and whilst it’s fabulous for me, it sucks for the players. An 18 hour flight across the Pacific, jet lag, shortened and interrupted preparation for the upcoming season, as well as the extreme likelihood of being heckled by drunk idiot Australian’s who don’t actually like the game, but are attending simply because it is an “event”. Yeah. I wouldn’t be excited either.

In saying that. I’m totally excited.

2013 College Football attendance will blow your mind.

Further proof that the USA is heaps better at sports than us (us being Australians in case you weren’t aware), the NCAA announced attendance during the 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision…and the numbers are HUGE!

The FBS, just one division of several in US college football, recorded fan total attendance of 38,135,118 for the 2013 season, which averages out to be 45,671 fans per game played. Is your mind blown yet? Wait for it…..In their 7 home games, Michigan averaged 111,592 fans per game, Ohio State 104,933 and Bama had a fair average of 101,505. Let’s not forget that this is not a professional sport, and the players are not being paid.

Shall I put it into perspective for you? As far as Australia’s professional football codes, AFL was the most popular. In the 2013 season, 207 games were played for a total fan attendance of 6,931,085 which averages out to 33,484 fans per game. By team, Collingwood had the best average of 53,754 per game, followed by Hawthorn with 45,769 fans per game…..Still less than half the average number of fans attending a Michigan home game. Huh.

Other Austalian football codes in 2013:

  • NRL – In 184 games, total fan attendance 2,888,760 with an average of 15,700 per game;
  • Super Rugby – In 26 games, total fan attendance 467,752 with an average of 17,999 per game.

MIND BLOWN.

Adam Scott wins US Masters……and looks damn fine doing it.

In a place that many would describe as resembling their idea of what heaven would be like, 32 year old Australian golfer and spunk rat Adam Scott sunk a putt from four meters out to birdie the second hole in a sudden death play-off round that won him Golf’s most coveted prize…..the Green Jacket of the US Masters held at Augusta.

Scott’s epic win is the first win of a Major by an Australian since Geoff Ogilvy won the US Open in 2006. The US Masters event has never been won by an Australian. Others have come close – 8 times an Australian has finished runner-up in the Masters, Scott being one of them.

Notorious choker Greg Norman accounts for a heartbreaking three of those runner-up efforts. Adam paid homage to the Great White Shark (Norman) in his victory speech saying that Norman “….inspired a nation of golfers…”.

Not immune to choking himself, the Masters win for Adam will hopefully erase some of the pain from last year’s British Open where he gave up a four shot lead with only four holes remaining and finished runner-up to Ernie Els.

After yesterday’s historic win, Adam Scott is now ranked Number 3 in the World.

I have a sneaking suspicion that us Aussies won’t have too many international sporting victories to revel in this year (anyone else terrified of the upcoming Ashes Series – or the Lions Tour?? Sigh) so thank you Mr. Scott for giving us something to celebrate.

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Australia’s most hated athletes

Just as I love beefing sports people, I love douchebaggery in sport. I often complain that I would just like to see athletes get on with it and stop trying to be celebrities…..but who am I kidding, the more they act like douchbags, the more I pay attention to them. Eh, I’m human. I love a good scandal.

Last month, Forbes Magazine put out their list of the 10 most hated athletes in the US. It got me wondering, who would be on the list of most hated sports people in Australia should such a list exist? With a little help from my Twitter followers and a few others, let me count down the biggest douchbags in Australian Sport. I do intend on continuing this list, but will be out of the country for a few weeks (in fact, this post is coming from the Emirates Business Class lounge in Dubai Airport) and since I know y’all are gagging for it – I give you the first 5.

1. Anthony Mundine
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Obviously Mundine is King douchbag on this list. The outspoken ex NRL player turned Professional Boxer never seems to be controversy challenged. He may be an exceptional sportsman, his current boxing stats are impressive – 44 wins with 5 losses. But the dude just can’t think before he opens his big stupid mouth. Most notable acts of idiocy include an interview in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attack where Mundine offers up this pearl of wisdom:

“They call it an act of terrorism, but if you can understand religion, and our way of life, it’s not about terrorism. It’s about fighting for God’s law, and America’s brought it upon themselves”.

Yep, good one Anthony. And who could forget late last year when Mundine thought to question Tasmanian opponent Daniel Geale’s indigenous heritage since Geale is from Tasmania, married to a white woman and has white kids saying:

“I thought they wiped all the Aborigines from Tasmania out, he’s got a white woman, he’s got white kids. I keep it real, all day every day.”

After losing his bout to Geale and spouting off about being “Robbed” in said loss, a fan went on his Facebook page to write an open letter. I imagine this pretty much sums up most of Australia’s thoughts.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/boxing-mma/gone-viral-fight-fans-open-letter-to-anthony-mundine/story-fndkzthy-1226566545206

2. Quade Cooper

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The title of #2 most hated Australian athlete goes to Quade Cooper. New Zealand born Quade is a brat. I blame this on the fact that for some reason media and coaching staff alike built  him up as the best 10 Australia has ever seen, and that douchebaggery likely occurred after reading way too much of his own press.

Sure, Quade is talented, in attack he makes moves few other fly halves could get away with, but his defence is virtually non-existent. We all became very aware of this in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He just doesn’t seem to be bothered with tackling. I happened to be in NZ for the RWC, and I can tell you that there were just as many Australian’s booing Quade Cooper as there were other nationalities. Turns out, no one likes the kid.

The interesting thing to come from hating Quade Cooper is that Aussies and Kiwis seem to agree on this. This stems back to the 2010 All Blacks v Wallabies Test Match in Hong Kong where Cooper “accidentally’ kneed Sir Richie McCaw (my future husband) in the head. Australian’s hate to lose, but most won’t accept a low blow like that – especially in a Gentleman’s game like rugby. As for the Kiwis, you just don’t disrespect Richie McCaw.

Oh, did I mention he is another that dabbles in boxing? Yeah.

3. Jana Pittman

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Coming in at #3, our first track and field entry, Jana Pittman, 400m hurdler and frequent member of 4x400m relay teams. Most famous for her long running feud with fellow sprinter Tamsyn Lewis.

The feud began back in 2002 at trials for the Manchester Commonwealth Games. Jana Pittman announced after winning her heat “I have no competition in Australia”. Tamsyn Lewis apparently was none too happy about this and reportedly stood behind the blocks for the finals saying “I’ll show you no competition, bitch”. Fantastic.

It escalated from there, during the Manchester Games, the 4x400m relay team, of which both were a part of won gold, only after the English team who came home first were disqualified. Now it is important to note here that both Pittman and Lewis went up to officials at the conclusion of the race to point out the violation of the English runner. But, some time later, Pittman wrote a letter to the English team openly blaming teammate lewis for the English runner’s violation, even going so far as to say that she would give her medal back. Such contrition Jana.

In 2006, Pittman announced her intention to leave Australia because everyone hated her. The final straw occurred when she was walking down the street and a man leaned out his car window, shouting “We love you Tamsyn, we hate you Pitts”. She also cited Tamsyn Lewis’ ‘Ralph’ magazine spread which was captioned with “It’s alright Tam, we don’t like Pittman either”.

Other acts of douchbaggery include:

  • Her 2008 ‘comeback’ where she visualised her win in Beijing would be a world record. 5 months later, she pulls out of the games with a toe injury.
  • In 2009, she had her breasts augmented, then removed them in 2010 as they affected her running. She isn’t opposed to having implants put back in after retirement though.
  • In 2006 she married athlete Chris Rawlinson. In 2009 they divorced. In 2010 they remarried. In 2011 they separated again. Give it up guys.

4. John Steffensen

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Keeping with the track and field theme (seriously, is it written somewhere that to make it as a sprinter you must be a tool?). Another outspoken entry, South African born 400m track athlete John Steffensen makes the list at #4. This may seem a little high, but given that Steffensen is a repeat offender I think it’s fair. John is frequently involved in disputes with Athletics Australia and has been suspended from domestic and international competition twice in the last 3 years. The most recent occurred following Steffensen’s unsubstantiated claims of racism in athletics and accusing the head of Athletics Australia of being a liar in a series of scathing tweets.

Next up for John, an appearance on TV’s ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ and rumour has it he is considering a boxing career in an attempt to stay relevant. Classic douchebag move right there.

5. Stephen Milne

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At #5 we have the first AFL entry on my list. Alleged repeated homophobe and all round douchbag, Stephen Milne.

In 2012 Milne escaped suspension after he allegedly breached the AFL Players Code of Conduct and the and the AFL’s policy on discrimination and vilification after he called Collingwood defender Harry O’Brien a “fucking homo”. He was however fined $3000 and had to go through an AFL education program. I’m sure he took a lot from that….

This isn’t even his first offence. In 2010, Milne was also fined $3000 for a homophobic slur, this time against then assistant Collingwood coach Paul Licuria. Homophobes suck, and homophobic slurs are just so pedestrian and so uncool, I have no time for it.

UPDATE: 18 June 2013, Victoria Police have charged Stephen Milne with four counts of rape following an alleged incident in 2004. Milne will appear in Court on July 5.

 

To be continued…………

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