This is something that has been weighing on my mind a bit recently, after I noticed an increasing trend towards rampant boganism, and frankly it disturbs me quite a bit.
It seems that everywhere you go these days you surrounded by bogans, and what’s worse they are totally self-aware bogans and revel in their boganism like it’s a badge of honour.
It really struck me when I was on holidays in Bali and was walking up the main street of Kuta and was literally surrounded by them, showing off their bogan stamps and mullets in the traditional Bintang singlet, asking all passersby where the nearest Pizza Hut is.
I thought to myself; “it never used to be like this did it? It never used to be this full on?”.
After a bit of thought I reckon I’ve worked out where it all went wrong and when the slide to the lowest common denominator really began…the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Prior to this we were generally an affable, tolerant nation, content in our place in the world with a realistic view of our impact on it. We were satisfied that the majority of our self-worth came in sports, and in particular traditional standards like cricket, netball, and rugby and we were happy that we excelled in those areas.
Then we won the Olympics and little Johnny wasted no time in telling us how bloody good we are and that we would do well. Of course we did with the home town and seasonal advantages, and when Samaranch declared them the “best games ever” , well that was it…we collectively went nuts.
From this point it was on for young and old. Our successes in this one event lead us to believe we were natural world beaters at ALL sports and we proceeded to get ugly about telling absolutely everyone about it. This gave rise to the increasing appearance of the ugly Aussie spectator, once usually reserved for his spot behind the Collingwood goalposts, he now appeared at all events with the same passion and fervour armed with the most brain dead chant of all time “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi”.
It has only gotten worse, with the expectation of us being world beaters at EVERYTHING now treated as a forgone conclusion in most minds, leading to the appearance of the “patriotic” Aussie (more like jingoistic) spouting the Cronulla riot slogan of “fuck off we’re full” with great delight. Couple this with the conspicuous display of “bogan stamp” tattoos (Southern Cross) on all and sundry and you have a delightful display to impress the world.
And there you have it…the great tradition of Aussie openness and tolerance being drowned in a sea of jingoistic fervour and hatred, with lashings of drunkeness and generally sub-human behaviour on display to the rest of the world. If any other countries actually cared what happens it’d be serious, but thankfully (despite the mass bogan delusion) the world cares very little about what happens here (except for bloody Oprah).
Makes you proud to be an Australian hey?
This may be counted sacrilegious in some quarters, but after the 2nd Test has wrapped up I find myself hoping the Aussies get thoroughly smashed for the rest of the series.
Now before you rip me a new one, let me explain my reasoning as to why this would be a good thing for Australian cricket.
As we all know, elite team sport goes in cycles and currently the Australian cricket team in on the downward reach. How deep and long the nadir of that cycle is depends on the steps taken by the governing body of the sport, in this case Cricket Australia.
Frankly, CA has been driven by short-term profit making as opposed to the long term interest of the sport and as such I see them guiding cricket into a deep, deep trench in Australia. Here are some of the more telling points:
- Captaincy. Quite frankly, Ricky Ponting is not a captain’s arsehole. He was doing OK when he had a team full of superstars to cover his weaknesses, but as soon as the likes of Gilchrist, Hayden and McGrath disappeared from the scene he was repeatedly exposed. He has little tactical nous on the field, can’t manage his bowlers properly, couldn’t set an attacking field to save his life, and his body language when he’s under pressure shows him to be a sulky little girl. As for his acolyte Clarke…the less said the better. I wouldn’t put him in charge of the drinks cart.
- Selections. CA has stuffed this really badly. Apart from the unwritten rule of selecting from NSW first then everyone else, they have long gone by the policy of picking based on past glories and reputation over form and potential. Unless of course you are a bowler when you are given precisely 1 game to get it all right. Batsmen appear to be the protected species of the team. How else do you explain North and Hussey getting no decent scores for two seasons and still retaining their place? Is it because we have no other middle order batsmen of any calibre playing in the Sheffield Shield? Then they suddenly put together a semi-decent knock in a Shield game and they are back in the good books. Unfortunately with Hussey getting some runs on some absolute highways in Brisbane and Adelaide, you can guarantee he’ll be safe for at least another 3 years…though his scores tend to lose their gloss when compared with the Pommy batsmen.
- Twenty20. This is the beginning of the end for the long form of the game. Twenty20 has so debased the skillset for a cricketer that soon they’ll be unable to play the true form of the game and that will be the end. All you have to do is look at two nuffies in particular, David Warner and Shaun Tait. Warner was some clown who was plucked from grade cricket (NSW of course) without even a first class match to his name and suddenly anointed as the next big thing because he can slog a ball. Where is he now you say? Good question. As for Tait, this is a guy who had the potential to be the next big fast bowling thing for Australia, but unfortunately he has a million dollar arm with a five cent head and a heart the size of a pea. The less we hear of him the better.
Where do they go from here?
CA needs to take a good hard look at themselves and be prepared to wear some short term pain (i.e. losses) with a view to some long term gain, otherwise cricket in Australia will soon have the same sort of appeal that it does in the West Indies.
They need to have the balls to drop players who aren’t performing or who are too old and blood some new talent. It also means having the guts to drop players even though they may be appearing in your sponsors’ commercials at the moment, regardless that it may cost you money. Do you really think Clarke would still be playing if he didn’t have his gormless head all over the box?
Now is the time to do it. Drop the underperformers like Clarke, Ponting, North, Haddin (got some runs but is a crap keeper), Bollinger, Doherty. Bring in fresh talent like Khwaja (??), Ferguson, White as captain, and an attacking spinner like Krezja. Persist with them for the rest of the series and give them a chance…don’t give them the Martin Love treatment.
Sigh…if only it would happen.