Sport-obsessed? ... or something worse?

Sunday 29 August 2004 7:02 AM

Now that the torch has been put to bed for another few years, how about some national reflection? Some letters to The Age, and several conversations I’ve shared, have indicated thinning interest in these Olympics, if not in sport more generally. Triggers for this might include: - Unanswered integrity questions surrounding drug cheating controversies. - The soap opera like saga of Ian Thorpe and Craig Stevens, and other selection battles. - Seven's general inclination to televise Aussie victories ad nauseaum. - The treatment meted out from many quarters to Sally Robbins, for daring to be mortal at an inconvenient time. And that's only the Olympics! 

Then there's:
- The millions we invest toward sporting success.
- The dumping on Shane Warne for his admittedly foolish behaviour eighteen months ago.
What have I missed? Oh yes, the prospect of a home advantage in the Commonwealth Games in just nineteen months, with no Americans, Chinese or Russians to assail our gold-dependent national ego. If only we were merely sport mad; that would be forgivable and even fun. But if sporting ascendancy has become integral to our identity, then something is seriously wrong. Innocence, honesty and fairness may then be the worst casualties. Just sport-crazy? I hope so.