Test cricket. Local football. Athletics. John Harms turns the full weight of his short sentences loose on Strayan sporting culture.
We long for sport to reflect the best of humanity - to be civil, even noble. But that is only possible if we know what nobility is, writes John Harms.
PEOPLE find sport meaningful. I have no doubt about that. Especially in Australia, where many of us have grown up with it. We know sport. We love sport. We think about sport. We are enlivened and enriched by sport. We are disappointed by sport. Not everyone. But enough of us to make sport a central element of Australian culture. Enough of us to ensure that last week the debate generated by a cricket match was carried out on the front page of newspapers and at the top of TV and radio news bulletins.
Despite Harms' style and tone often being a bit much, there's much in what he writes. But, still. I can just see him sitting on the Offsiders couch, smiling to one side, then the other, and saying "We love Sheeds, don't we."
SOMETIMES people who are very good at their job seem arrogant. I spoke to the Australian cricket team many years ago when it was struggling under Allan Border and Bobby Simpson.
We bagged the team about non-performance -- and now it is a winning team we bag it because of the way it wins or because the players are supposedly arrogant.
It is a sad perception, because what they've got is killer instinct.
It means they go after the win and that upsets a lot of people in today's world.
For those who don't come from the civilized Aussie Rules states, Kevin Sheedy was a successful player and coach who understands the key maxim of football: it's all about big blokes knocking over other big blokes. Sheedy the player was a ruthless, sledging, sniping winner. Sheedy the coach encouraged his players to be the ruthless, sledging, sniping winners.