|Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud||
Wednesday, January 01, 2003
by David Morgan
Australia appears intent on surpassing the United States in a quest for self-control...Actually we've been looking towards America since at least 1941.
It is also a product as much as a cause of the nation's confidence and competence, both of which ave become clear to the rest of the world and to anyone who follows sport, given Australian success in so many sporting arenas in the past decade. Discussing the baffling furore around Steve Waugh's future, former skipper Mark Taylor captured the essence of the modern Australian ethos: "Our cricket is run like a business now; it is utterly ruthless." The lack of sentiment over Waugh, his legendary status notwithstanding, is not baffling to Australians. Proficiency comes naturally now - welcome to the Switzerland of the south.But is any of this really new? Geoffey Blainey argued in A Shorter History of Australia (1994) that, while excellence hadn't been encouraged in industry, it was always expected in sport. There has been a lot of sentimental talk about how Australians allegedly prefer 'heroic failures' (Gallipoli and all that) to unambiguous winners.
But there has never been a heroic failure captaining a losing Australian cricket team - just a failure. Bill Woodfull may not have succeeded against bodyline, but it was unsportsmanlike - he was a victim, not a failure, so it was all right.
The only people who really like heroic failures are journalists, because they're usually such unheroic failures themselves.
But even the Americans aren't always that efficient. I originally entered this post (and the last one) yesterday, and they were promptly chewed up by Blogger. Good thing I had copies.
by David Morgan