Have you ever been brushing your teeth in the middle of October, scratching your bum while looking in the mirror, and suddenly thought to yourself: “Holy fuck, it’s footy season! I should be on the couch, taking in a relatively unimportant fixture!”
Well no, you probably haven’t.* BUT HOLD YOUR HORSES NOW, MOTHERFUCKER! Because this is now a reality.
This is contemporary sport. A veritable bukkake of unimportant fixtures: A-League, Cricket, EPL, NBL – there was even a bloody Bledisloe Cup last weekend! And this weekend’s Four Nations rugby league clash kicks off in a double-header I have little to no interest in, but will probably watch anyway. And I suppose we are all going to get interested in the NFL now that the Hayne Plane is heading over there, aren’t we?
Apart from the Bledisloe, such events have always been, for most of us, completely unimportant. Somewhere along the line they grew to I slightly pay attention to the results although I’m still not sure if I really care, and now, without a moments respite, have become things we have accepted as part of our lives.
And where has it left us, exactly?
In a recent internal email, TPA scribe, Sam Perry, went as far to directly blame Australia’s sporting slump on the scything of the gooch:
“I believe the gooch of Australian sport – also known as ‘changeover season’ – was one of the last remaining cornerstones of our sporting golden age. Like the 9-5 day or the Spanish siesta, changeover season is a key cultural bedrock that allows us to structure our life correctly.
“Globalisation and the drive for eyeballs has led to sporting saturation, with traditional seasonal codes now being played at any time. The A-League in summer, for example. I think the eroding of changeover season has confused Australians since 2001 and thus may explain why we’ve sucked since precisely that year.”
And he’s not wrong. There is a genuine apathy about sporting results these days. I remember a time when we used to genuinely be shocked whenever Team Australia lost. That shock soon turned to outrage about our poor performances on the international stage. And now we merely shrug our shoulders and get on with it, “What? We lost to Argentina? Qatar? Meh. Pass me my craft beer and sliders please.”
How can our athletes be expected to be world beaters when their heroic deeds are swiftly forgotten as we turn our attention to the next bright trinket?
Traditionally the month of October is the time for reflection. A time to reflect on the season just past and revel in your teams glories, or convince yourself they’ve got a good bunch of young blokes coming through or just need to keep their best team on the paddock.
It was also a time for the Australian sports fan to pull their head out of the back pages and look at the world around them. Stop and smell the flowers. Catch up on their work and actually be useful for a change.
But now whole seasons have been condemned to a couple of discarded kleenexes in a bin full of unfulfilled dreams. A quick KFC wipe to clean yourself up and get back down to business.
It is easy to blame the growth of soccer, or ‘football‘ – and there is a case for the A League being like Shane Warne’s leg break, in that it killed the [Graham] Gooch – but I blame you, the consumers. The giddy hicks who gleefully plough your money into anything fluorescent and fast. The people who watch 20/20 cricket. The shit-growlers who actually read the front of the Daily Telegraph.
But you all need to remember, without the Gooch, there is nothing separating the anus from the genitals, and that just creates a wild fucking free-for-all.
By Alasdair McClintock
* Unless, of course, you are from the Northern Hemisphere, but this article isn’t for you now, is it?