Australian media reflect culture of winning

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…

“What did you read at Uni? Cricket?”

Students have an ever-growing and seemingly limitless number of degrees to choose from these days. Wallpaper-paste-management, how to design a video game and Toenail Clipping in 21st Century Politics are three which don’t yet exist. But then nor does a degree in cricket…or does it?

Read more here if you can stand it.

How ridiculous. Call me old-fashioned, call me a stick in the mud, but I cannot believe the number of degrees available is in any way beneficial to the future of our education system or in securing employment. It’s almost as though universities are challenging eachother in a Most Unlikely Courses competition each year. I didn’t go to uni – yes, I was going to and some say I should’ve gone – but I don’t feel I have missed out on anything other than the fun part, popping persil tablets and vomiting out of windows. Circumstances at the time dictated my decision.

Specific degrees tailored towards a particular profession are absolutely necessary, but there are too many spurious subjects on offer for there to be any benefit to the employer or employee. I think businesses are wising up to the university treadmill, too. Although I must admit, before joining Cricinfo I was massively handicapped by a lack of a degree. What angered me so much was the number of companies who didn’t specify a particular degree – anything would have done, which makes a total mockery of the whole system! If it was an IT job, a degree in biology would have been just fine. My experience in the field, running my own small business and with a list of clients as long as my arm counted for nothing apparently.

Anyway, waffling. Go and get a degree in cricket, see if I care.

Becoming a citizen of cricketland

Last week, we here in Britain heard that new British citizens – or those wishing to live on these shores – now face a 45-minute “British citizen test,” which I can’t help finding hilarious. Not the actual test – I think it’s a good idea, frankly – but the thought of what questions could be asked. I’d definately want the new people to know all about Del Boy, and his phrases – as well as having indepth and worryingly accurate knowledge of Fawlty Towers. But I’m here to talk and write about cricket, so I won’t bore you with my political views. Or of my favourite TV shows.

I digress. It was Hammy who brought this to my attention in his Frugal Bastard blog, in which he said:

If they made it compulsory to know the national anthem then I think most of the people settled here [in Australia] already would get the boot. Many of us could tell you that Shane Warne took 1-150 on his debut. Or that Peter Brock won the Bathurst 1000 a total of nine times. Or that Sir Donald Bradman’s test average was 99.94, which is the post office box of the Australian Broadcasting Authority in capital cities in Australia.

So, if there was a country called Cricket (God forbid!), what questions should be asked of potential citizens? Let’s draw up 10 “must know” facts about the great game….over to you.

Urban street cricket photos

Stavros reminded me of these photos, which I forgot to post last night. They’re just a bunch of people playing cricket in the street, but it’s significant that they’re (almost certainly) British and in Britain. I’ve mentioned and posted photos of Indian street cricket, which is altogether more common…but in Britain? Not so common.

From Flickr user Matthew Moor