Australians are a funny bunch. Remember when people used to claim Mel Gibson was Australian? (He lived here for a few years in his teens). Well you don’t hear them saying that now!
It is no secret we love a winner, whether it be in the sporting arena or life in general – yet this trait is not unique to Australia (in fact very few traits are, but I will elaborate on that later). What is becoming uniquely Australian, however, is how quick we are to turn on ‘our own’ when the going gets tough, and they are no longer the immobile unbeatable force that, for example, our cricket team once was.
In fact, our present cricket team is a good place to start when analysing how Australians are becoming a fickle bunch of lunatics with completely unrealistic expectations of their sportsmen and a sporting memory about as long as Barry Hall’s fuse. Last year, Chris Judd said this memory extended to ‘about two weeks’… and I think he was being generous.
Being hammered from post to pillar just months ago, ‘our boys’ are now being celebrated as heroes and loved wherever they go. In truth all they did was beat a pretty hapless team seemingly hellbent on doing everything within their power to lose, but no one wants to look at it that closely. They won! They’re winners! It will be interesting to see how the public will react if (and I am going with if because I really hope it doesn’t happen) they get a reality check in South Africa.
On the other end of the spectrum is Bernard Tomic. Last night Tomic was booed from Rod Laver arena after succumbing to a groin injury at the end of the first set against world no.1 Rafael Nadal. A set he more than held his own in, before eventually going down 6-4. He had twinged his groin earlier in the week, felt it tweak once again during warm up, and was in obvious discomfort during the brief match. Rafael Nadal has even said he noticed him struggling with it.
His withdrawal sparked not only the malevolence of the locals in the crowd, but also the usual social media spew that follows pretty much everything and anything that happens these days, not to mention a hastily penned article by this long-time TPA adversary.
AFL footballer Taylor “Tex” Walker used his minimal brainpower to tweet “Tomic is the most gutless bloke… un-Australian!! Soft as butter,”* and the usual herpes-like spread of memes and gags followed (some quite humorous, I must admit). I’m sorry ‘Tex’ Walker, but have you never left the field injured during your career? I know for a fact you have. And did you take into account that butter straight out of the fridge can be quite hard? And what exactly is it to be ‘Australian’? Do we all have to be mullet-bearing hillbillies quick to judge others with little to no knowledge of the full picture, like you? If that’s the case, I may just have to hand my citizenship back.
The very term un-Australian is in itself infuriating. This pejorative word is mostly touted by morons who consider things such as mateship and having a go as uniquely Australian attributes that the rest of the world can only look upon and admire as they roll over meekly and swear at their neighbours.
Australia is a young country. Do these people think that nobody made any friends before 1788? Captain Cook rocked up and suddenly discovered ‘Mateship’ hiding under a rock? Well if he did, ‘Mateship’ was probably the name of some Indigenous bloke and Cook would have swiftly decapitated him. BUT HOLY FUCK DON’T ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE WERE PEOPLE HERE FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE THEN BECAUSE THAT WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY BE ‘UN-AUSTRALIAN’.
Now, now, now, I hear the cries. “But Tomic has history!” “Thomas the Tank Engine, remember?”
Well even if he is ‘soft’, booing an injured player can never be justified – unless it’s one of those ‘injured’ soccer players that jump off the stretcher as soon as they’re off the field. Whatever happened to applauding an injured bloke as he left the paddock? “Bad luck mate, hope it’s not too bad,” used to be the sentiment if someone couldn’t continue – but now it’s “soft!” “weak!” “un-Australian,” etc. Whatever happened to giving someone a fair go? Isn’t that what Aussies are meant to do?
I admit Tomic is a bit of a douche, but so are most elite sports people [when they are that age]. It takes a certain amount of inner-wanker to have the self belief to be that good. Will we support him if he starts winning? I have no doubt we will, and the same arseholes who booed him last night will be singing his praises and chanting “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” in the crowd.
Will they acknowledge that they once booed him? Probably not. I doubt they will even remember it. To do so would be un-Australian – and that is me using the term, because to humbly admit that one was in the wrong is a very un-Australian trait these days.**
*As I finish writing this I have just heard on the radio scans have confirmed Tomic’s groin injury and he is in doubt for the Davis Cup. How do you feel now Tex? Ashamed, I hope.
** Note: I am not pulling a Lara Bingle and saying I dislike and want to leave Australia – still love the place. Would happily see Bingle leave, though.