Empathy for the devil

There’s something intrinsically comic about professional athletes who are clearly out of condition yet still manage to contribute. Just because he’s a vulgar hoon with very little sense of how to behave in public, doesn’t mean we can’t feel his pain. Up here in the North it’s Spring and the days  –  though cold  –  get longer as they pass, which must mean, down-under, nights are drawing in.

“Cricket is not a metaphor for life. Cricket is life.”

C.L.R  James

 

  • Play optional sentimental soundtrack.
  • Stand-by with the hankies.

It’s easy to mock [WARNING: link to smut] fat cricketers. Who can forget the day some joker released a pig onto the field at Brisbane in honour of those two stout fellows I.T.Botham and E.E.Hemmings?

There’s something intrinsically comic about professional athletes who are clearly out of condition yet still manage to contribute.

Shane Warne’s in trouble again. Just because he’s a vulgar hoon with very little sense of how to behave in public, doesn’t mean we can’t feel his pain. Up here in the North it’s Spring and the days  –  though cold  –  get longer as they pass, which must mean, down-under, nights are drawing in.

With it’s various formats cricket offers the chance of multiple retirements without the indignity of embarrassing comebacks. 42 year old S.K.Warne’s ultimate, final swan-song supposedly came in April 2011 at the end of his fourth season in the Indian Premier League. Six months later he surprised the World by announcing one more tour of duty in the Big Bash tournament, that ends this Saturday, 28/01/2012.

‘I’m fitter than I have ever been. I had a few offers but the MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground] has been my backyard for 20 years,’ he said. ‘There were a few offers about playing a game here or there. And I thought if I’m going to do this, let’s do it properly.

‘I thought it was an opportunity where I could actually give something back to the game of cricket that has been so good to me.

‘I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and over the next sort of month or so I’m going to really get into the bowling and doing all those sorts of things with the Melbourne Stars.

‘It’s got nothing to do with money. If it had something to do with money and me coming out to play cricket, I’d still be playing in the IPL. This is something that I’m passionate about. It’s something new … and that’s what enticed me.’

King of the cashed-up bogans?

Spin bowlers don’t need to run-up fast, they don’t need the pigeon-eyed vision of a batsman, they can balance their fading physical powers with craft, guile and wisdom; but finally even the Sheik of Tweak will have to admit that he can’t chase the fade forever.

Professional Cricket is the number one sport for post-retirement suicides. What could replace a life fully engaged, at the highest level of its preindustrial mystery?

Shameful episodes, involving reckless behaviour in motor vehicles by male sports stars are all too common, at least there’s been no suggestion that performance-inhibiting substances were implicated in Warne’s madness.

Melbourne’s Mayor Dolye’s reaction to Warniegate is shameful. Rather than pander to the idiot’s prejudices, Warne’s alleged threatening and destructive behavour ought to be investigated and, if proved, given exemplary punishment; but let’s understand the extremity of his pain, as he faces the final curtain on his glorious career. And be prepared to forgive him like he was Ullrich or the poor little devil Pantani.

 

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