“WHEN is Australia playing in the cricket?”
As a sport-loving Australian I feel I should not have to answer such questions.
Ever. People should just inherently know such things.
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Certainly I should not be asked to answer them on the eve of a Cricket World Cup Semi Final – perhaps the biggest and most important sporting fixture in the last year if not longer.
Especially when it is IN Australia.
For Ponting’s sake people!
And it was not like these words were uttered by a disgruntled eighty year old nanna who stopped watching the sport since the players started to wear colours.
No, the above sentence was uttered by a co-worker of mine, not two days ago.
He is 21 years old, and he only really asked to make conversation.
It was clear to see he could not have cared less.
Then this morning I get something similar from my sister-in-law, a young lady who prides herself on her ‘sporty-ness’.
“Did you see that game with New Zealand versus the green team? I thought Australia were green – did we get knocked out already?”
Warney give me strength.
Cricket is not exactly Commonwealth equestrian, it is our national sport!
My fridge has been stocked with the appropriate amount of snacky goodness and liquid refreshments for days.
I even volunteered to look after the kids for the afternoon because I knew it would guarantee that I was at home near the television by 130pm. (Needless to say they will both be enjoying a lovely afternoon of extended nap time followed by quiet drawing in the corner)
Yet to a growing portion of the nation it could not mean less if we win tonight against India.
A worrying thought has crept into my head – perhaps we Aussies aren’t the sport-loving nation we love to see ourselves as being.
Perhaps our apathy towards cricket, our empty NRL stadiums across Australia and diminished interest in quintessentially ‘Aussie’ sports like Surf Life Saving and Swimming are all part of a grand shift in culture.
Maybe we are no longer the easy going, sports-mad nation we once were?
Maybe we are too busy now, or is it that we have grown up – or maybe we see ourselves as a bigger fish in world affairs than we did even ten years ago, no longer needing our sporting prowess to propel us into importance.
Sure there will always be a fanatical percentage of the population that more than make up for the rest, helping to conceal this sporting schism to outsiders, even to ourselves.
But when I see the passion that Indians, that New Zealanders have for sport in general and specifically this Cricket World Cup, one thing is clear.
Victory tonight, even victory in the World Cup Final means nothing compared to what we seem to have already lost.
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