Saturday, August 29, 2009

[protection] how nanny should we get

Hope it's like this, this year

It might be very difficult to get you interested in this one because 1. it's about sport 2. it's about a sport which not many are interested in.

The issue though transcends any particular country and game and if it had been gridiron or gaelic football, it wouldn't matter. Actually, it's about the Australian game and the second last round of the home and away season. Basically, a player gave an almighty hip and shoulder bump to another and produced an injury. I'm not sure. Maybe he didn't produce an injury but could have.

Either way, he was reported and had to front the tribunal, where he was suspended, which meant, as a star, in missing the crucial last game of the season, the side would go in undermanned. Guess what? They lost. Hence the angst and ire over the rule.

What it comes down to is that the Australian game, traditionally, was always a very physical game, with no padding and so there were injuries. In the nanny state and matriarchal upbringing of kids these days, the authorities determined that the players required protection and so to bump another player high, even if a total accident, is illegal and carries a penalty.

In the outcry over the making of the game into a girly or sissy sport, something, by the way, that if enough people were angry about, would affect gate takings and the AFL would have to look at it - in this, the AFL supremo, Andrew Demetriou, said:

''The fact of the matter is that the rule was considered two years ago and it was on the basis of medical experts and we've made absolutely no apologies for protecting the head because we don't want head injuries,'' Demetriou told Fairfax radio. ''People can bang on about the game's lost the bump … it's complete nonsense. We've had, in two years on our medical survey, the lowest neck and head injuries we've ever had and if that's the by-product of this, so be it.''

I like Andrew Demetriou and a political tract he wrote some years back was good, solid common sense. I don't know how he's been in his job downunder. Also, that team which has now been knocked out of the playoffs [finals] was the one which took the flag from my team last year and yet the principle must transcend this.

Like the gladiatorial contests of old, people want biffo, they want head-to-head contests up and down the ground, champion on champion, they want grunt and solid clashes. Sure they want skill as well but a bit of biffo never hurt anyone [much]. This is the rugby player in me speaking.

On the other hand - head injuries are another thing, as you know. I hope the debate doesn't split down gender lines, with mothers on one side and the lads on the other. Personally, I'm nearly in the middle on this, though more to the male side.