Sporting legends drop the ball on drinking culture

JONATHAN Brown and Shane Warne are two or the most celebrated heroes in Australian sport.

…but this week they really dropped the ball.

It absolutely kills me to even type this, such is the admiration and man-love I have for the pair of ridiculously talented knockabouts.


But in the space of 24 hours I have watched Warney (at the Cricket World Cup post-match interview) and Browny (on Fox Footy in an episode of Open Mike) openly celebrate the post-premiership/world cup drink-a-thon as if it was the greatest reward a sportsman or women can ever ask for.

And in doing so set this country (and the collective drinking problem we have but hate to talk about) back a few decades.

In the early 90’s it was completely acceptable for David Boon to be celebrated for imbibing 30 cans of beer on a flight from England to Australia.

It is not anymore.

They know this – I guarantee you that Crown Lager and VB are not mentioned in the bazillion Auskick or Milo clinics the pair have devoted their time to over the years.

So why ask about how big the after party will be in front of millions of people, when it matters most.

Kids copy what their sporting heroes say, think and do.

They have kids. They should know this.

Like myself, Warne and Brown clearly love a beer or four – especially (but not necessarily) when there is a good excuse to have one.

We are all part of that generation of thirty-somethings that grew up idolising figures like Boon, Dermot Brereton and Andrew Johns as much for their drinking prowess as their actual sporting ability.

But unlike myself these two aussie sporting idols are actually in a position to reverse this trend and have a profoundly positive affect on Aussie culture.

Don’t get me wrong, I know full well it can be hard not to associate success with drinking – upon having the ‘brilliant’ idea to write about this subject my subconscious demanded I go to the fridge and ‘reward’ myself with a cold ale.

I am now on my third.

It is too late for me, and for Warne and for Brown. We have grown up in a culture that associates success with excessive drinking (and loved every minute of it).

But sadly it is now too late for that generation of teenagers who after the last 24 hours associate World Cup success with naked spooning with prized silverware, or flying home from premiership glory in a plane with thirty slabs of VB on board.

It doesn’t have to always be this way.

Change the narrative – talk about the personal pride you feel/felt when you held the cup, or the cherished friendships or life-long relationships your success helped to forge.

Anything but how many nights the ‘bender’ is going to last for.

[signoff icon=”icon-thumbs-up”]The Meddler

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