I can’t help but enjoy Australia’s slip from grace. I’m British and it’s my absolute right. Most of all though it’s the Australian media which really gets me going.
Australia only need lose once and immediately, without prejudice or loyalty, their champion side is reduced to a bunch of complete losers. When they enter a losing streak, as they have in the past two weeks, the headlines make hilarious reading: “hapless,” “demoralised,” “licking wounds,” “Australia agony”. It goes on and is completely, brilliantly merciless. Until they win, and they’ll once again be hailed as the greatest sporting side in the history of the planet.
I’m probably completely wrong, but the turncoat style of Australia’s papers is in some ways a microcosm of a society which simply cannot accept losing. Ever. In any form, at anything. And this isn’t to say the criticism isn’t valid – Australia have been shoddy, no mistake. It’s just the tabloid turnaround which just astounds me…there is never any balance or reasoned debate as to their fall from grace. “BLOODY LOSERS. SACK THEM ALL” you half expect a headline to read.
I met two great Aussies on safari last week, Shelley and Paul. Both in their thirties, travelled all over the world, they were eager to hear my thoughts of Australia. “Been to Aus then Will?” And I told them I had. Before I could finish Shelley said “Yeah great isn’t it? Awww the beaches, everything’s just great isn’t it? Don’t you think?” And it is, and I love the country. But disliking Australia was not an option!
Billy Connolly observed this in one of his stand-up routines years ago. He’d arrived in Australia for the first time and, at a press conference at Sydney airport, was bombarded with questions about the country. “How are you finding Australia Mr Connolly? Liking it here?” “I’ve only just got off the fucking plane, but the tarmac is indeed terrific!”
Not all Aussies are like this but the positive, must-win vibe runs through the country like a critical artery. Cut it, and there’s blood everywhere. Losing is just not an option and losers should be shamed. Britain is completely, emphatically the opposite. We love to shame the losers too, but we also love to love the losers and the underdogs. Whereas in Australia, a crap league side would be backed to the hilt with a genuine belief their fortunes would turn around, in England we actually enjoy the struggle! Of course we don’t want England to lose, but we just shrug our shoulders, tut, throw a dart at Ricky Ponting and move on. C’est la vie.
I’m not sure what I’m wibbling about now, but do leave your thoughts. Scott’ll be best placed to ridicule this post…