The Public Apology has launched yet another absurd, somewhat unnecessary mini-series. In this latest one, we’re brainstorming the analogy that best fits the milieu in which the present-day Wallabies now find themselves. In this third instalment, Al McClintock suggests that the Wallabies are to New Zealand what Scotty Pippen’s manhood was to Michael Jordan…
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They say men will never experience pain like giving birth to a child. For that, as a man, I am thankful, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say twelve years of Bledisloe torment must be right up there*.
Still, I do not take the viewpoint held by my colleagues and plenty of pub-chat professionals that the Wallabies are a non-entity; something that was great in the nineties and now, like David Schwimmer, just doesn’t have the same allure.
For me, the Wallabies are much like Scottie Pippen, or more specifically his penis, and if you bear with me, I will explain how I came to this conclusion.
We all know the Scottie Pippen saga. A great player condemned to play in the shadow of The Greatest, Michael Jordan: a man who single handedly beat a bunch of basketball playing aliens; a man who is still the highest paid athlete annually, in terms of endorsements, long after he has retired; a man who is widely regarded as a complete cunt, but all is forgiven, because he was just that good.
Scottie Pippen, on the other hand, never got to play aliens**. He helped Jordan win several championships, no doubt has some incredible statistics that I could google, but won’t bother, and may even be a little bit of a prick himself, but while we all quietly acknowledge Pippen had the goods, talk inevitably moves onto the great man, MJ.
For me, this situation is mightily similar to the one the Wallabies find themselves in. I am not sure if it is an indictment on, or something to admire in the Australian psyche, that being the second best to arguably the greatest sporting team ever is not considered good enough. True, nobody remembers second, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t great themselves.
For once I would just like to hear a few people to say, “Hey, you know what? We didn’t beat the All Blacks, but we beat everyone else. So well done boys.”
I have recently been to New Zealand and they live and breathe Rugby Union. Rugby League is but a blip on their radar and although I know they play other sports, I saw very little evidence of it.
You drive through a small country town that looks as if you’ve just rolled into a B-Grade horror movie. Prepare yourself to encounter a zombie in overalls brandishing a shotgun and then you pass the local footy field and it is immaculate.
Bright white posts stand proudly, seemingly taunting the heavens. Beautifully manicured grass rolls out before you, looking so plush you feel you could curl up and fall asleep on it. The club house, while tiny, looks as if it is polished every day. Who the fuck polishes a clubhouse? New Zealanders, that’s who.
This is what we’re up against. Rugby Union is a religion for these people. I am not going to go as far as comparing the All Blacks to ISIS, but the fanaticism is not that far off. And until we do the right thing and completely outlaw Rugby League, we will never be able to truly compete.
But all is not lost. A lot of what made Michael Jordan so great was his rivalry with Scottie Pippen. The two of them would often stay for hours after training, playing one-on-one into the early hours of the morning, desperately trying to get an edge over the other. Jordan would invariably win, but there was one thing he could never better Pippen on – the size of his penis.
It is widely accepted that Pippen had a cock like an elephant’s trunk. So well endowed was he that Former Chicago Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach said: “Madonna used to pick him up in a limo with a hot tub every time we went to L.A. Michael used to tell Madonna he could satisfy her better, to which Madonna would tell him, ‘Not a chance.’”
You think Madonna is a lady who would mess about with even an average sized penis? She was the greatest sex symbol of her time and thus she required the greatest penis.
This reportedly drove MJ mad and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it, except continue to beat Pippen on the basketball court. Is it not thus fair to say that the reason Michael Jordan was so great was because of Scottie Pippen’s penis? I think it is more than fair! I think it is too bloody right!
And therefore I assert that the reason the All Blacks are so great and New Zealand is so fanatical about Rugby Union, is because they know they can never beat Australia in terms of natural resource, wealth and worldly standing. It is just the way it is.
To them, Australian Rugby Union has Scottie Pippen’s penis and that is what truly drives them.
By Alasdair McClintock
* Cue justifiably outraged mothers, but think about it mothers who double as Wallabies fans, would you prefer to go through another labor, or suffer another twelve years of Bledisloe pain? At least you get a bloody kid out of it! A future Wallaby perhaps… Or perhaps just a prick/politician, but you’ll still love them.
** I can only speculate on this; he very well may have.
The Public Apology has launched yet another absurd, somewhat unnecessary mini-series. In this latest one, we’re brainstorming the analogy that best fits the milieu in which the present-day Wallabies now find themselves. In this second instalment Dave J. Edwards proffers that The Wallabies are essentially U.S. ‘Teen Dramas’ from 1995-2004…
Personally, I’m still coming to terms with the shift from baggy jeans to skin-tight leggings. Recently, I read about a new fashion trend called normcore – essentially a movement where people eschew ‘fashion’ in favour of simple clothes that are simply comfortable.
However, I don’t think the Wallabies represent normcore because, well, there’s nothing comfy about getting raped mercilessly at Eden Park. They are, instead, as Shine suggests, a shapeless pair of baggy jeans – once the epitome of cool, but now resigned to the bargain bin at Vinnies.
But there was a time when the Wallabies fit our national psyche like a snug pair of trousers, wasn’t there?
I grew up with the Wallabies. I remember reading Bob Dwyer’s book as a 10-year-old. I had pictures of club rugby players on my bedroom wall, for fuck’s sake.
But I didn’t know any better at 10, did I? I possibly didn’t know any better at 17-18, either, when the Wallabies won the World Cup during the slim stretch of time that, in retrospect, was undoubtedly the greatest period in Australia’s sporting history.
But at 28, I know better. And believe me, I know a fad when I see one.
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For my own analogy, I’ll venture into pop culture territory. It’s not a strength of mine, but I think I can hold my own here.
As such, I propose that the Wallabies are essentially teen/young adult-focused TV dramas screening from circa-1995 to the mid-2000s.
Hear me out.
Like every other dumb-fuck 15-19-year-old in 2003, I sat down every Sunday night to check in on Ryan, Seth, Marissa and the gang.
I’m talking about The O.C. The faddish TV series from 2003-2005 featuring young, beautiful teens living their lives in California’s affluent Orange County.
Just like we sat down to witness Australia’s sporting dominance on a weekly basis, The O.C. provided us with a similar comfort. Familiar faces, digestible story-lines, always a happy ending.
We were all charmed by Seth Cohen’s rapid-fire Jewish-centric one-liners. We certainly fell for Marissa Cooper and that other chick, whose name escapes me.*
Alas, this dominance came and went, just as quickly as the McG-produced drama did.
In the late 90’s to early 2000s, the Wallabies were an unstoppable juggernaut. We didn’t seem slower than the All Blacks, or more susceptible to brain-snaps, which we do now. In the immediate aftermath of the new professional era, the Wallabies were the physical representation of modernity.
But just as viewership drifted for The O.C., leading to its cancellation at the end of series 3**, the rugby landscape changed, too. Some 20 years since rugby went professional, other countries have caught up to Australia.
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Teen dramas exploded onto our screens in the mid-90s, with Beverly Hills 90210 leading the charm offensive. It’s no coincidence that, at the exact same time, the Wallabies (yet to be prefaced in conversation by the word ‘Qantas’) hit the public consciousness with the same enigmatic force.
But while Aaron Spelling’s decision to cast daughter Tori Spelling in 90210 represented a minor stumbling block, the Wallabies had no such casting issues. In this new professional era, each player selected themselves; each player had that rare mix of ability and charisma.
You had David Campese, Tim Horan and Jason Little at 11, 12 and 13. Tony Daly, Ewen MacKenzie and Phil Kearns leading the forward pack. David Wilson and Willie-O binding the scrum.
They were all there on our TV sets each week, just as Steve Sanders, David Silver, and Brandon Walsh were. They were Australia’s Walter Cronkite – delivering the goods every night to a watchful nation when it mattered most.
And under the tutelage of Bob Dwyer – and later Rod MacQueen, sport’s own Aaron Spelling equivalent – the Wallabies went from strength to strength.
But like 90210, the Wallabies are best left as a memory.
Indeed, 90210 did relaunch itself recently, but it just wasn’t the same. The things that made the show so popular – Steve Sanders’ sarcasm, Brandon Walsh’s hair, the fact that Luke Perry was a 46-year-old actor playing a 20-year-old – were no longer present.
And it’s the same with the Wallabies.
The Wallabies, like a misguided TV executive, think that we’re going to stick around. But maybe the sands have shifted for real this time? Perhaps, like character-driven teen dramas, rugby union just isn’t hip anymore?
Perhaps it’s not the Wallabies fault, nor the fault of rugby, but simply the fact that rugby is no longer palatable to a modern audience.
We don’t like comedies to have a laugh track anymore, do we? The Office changed all that. We prefer panning cameras and knowing glances as evidenced on Parks and Recreation, Community, Curb Your Enthusiasm and other such ironic (mostly HBO) TV series.
This smug, ironic, elitist humour is what’s in right now – and the Qantas Wallabies are nothing but a shitty episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. But unlike Ray Romano, not everybody loves the Wallabies. Not anymore, we don’t.
For what was once de rigueur is now simply passé.
By Dave Edwards
* Her name was Summer! Summer Roberts, as portrayed by Rachel Bilson on the popular teen series The O.C. Thanks Wikipedia, what would The Public Apology do without you? Probably cease to exist.
** Just checked; apparently there was a fourth series. Fuck me, it must have been shit.