June 21, 2003

LOSERS ARE COOL

Hugh Mackay writes yet another dead, ill-considered, specious column - but thatís OK, because failure is healthy and success makes you sick:

Perhaps we have become obsessive in our drive to punch above our weight as a sporting nation. When we take promising young players and install them in hothouses like the Australian Institute of Sport, honing their skills and fuelling their competitive urge, why should we then expect them to emerge as well-rounded human beings, full of joie de vivre, imbued with love for their fellow humans, passionate about fair play and with a realistic appreciation of the place of sport in a balanced life?

Wouldn't they be quite likely to emerge, instead, as rather driven individuals with some unattractive, unhealthy attitudes as a result of being encouraged to chant, year after year, the same mantra: Winning is everything! When your sense of personal worth is tied to your performance - whether you're a dentist or an athlete - dark and damaging neuroses lurk.

So if youíre a dentist who clumsily drives a drill through your patientís cheek - hey, lighten up! Donít get all neurotic about it. Couldíve happened to anyone. Mackay is wrong about most Australian athletes, too; he accepts the "ugly Australian" line commonly promoted in broadsheet sports pages. Hugh should actually meet some of the people he writes about.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 21, 2003 05:01 AM | TrackBack
Comments

"Hugh should actually meet some of the people he writes about."

Ahhh...no. That would interfere with the I-am-God-you-are-clay view.

Posted by: Stephen at June 21, 2003 05:38 AM

I agree with Hugh McKay, here in Britain we have been training nice, well rounded and utterly shit athletes for 30 years it hasn't done us any harm. The exception to this rule is the England rugby union team who will be trouncing Australia this weekend.

Posted by: Wookie at June 21, 2003 10:21 AM

I agree with Hugh McKay, here in Britain we have been training nice, well rounded and utterly shit athletes for 30 years it hasn't done us any harm. The exception to this rule is the England rugby union team who will be trouncing Australia this weekend.

Posted by: Wookie at June 21, 2003 10:21 AM

How depressing. Sportsfolk are the only people in this goddamned country who are allowed to achieve anything without becoming the object of general skepticism and scorn, and Hugh wishes that they would be, well, just a little less successful.

Posted by: Mork at June 21, 2003 12:47 PM

I wouldn't mind meeting Dennis Lillee, for one.

Posted by: Kim du Toit at June 21, 2003 01:19 PM

Met him. Nice guy. V. funny, too.

Posted by: tim at June 21, 2003 06:42 PM

The article is quite correct. Successful people are very bad for morale. This is why we dislike Americans. Not only they have been very successful lately, they don't seem to be embarrassed about it.

Posted by: The at June 22, 2003 06:50 PM

I'd rather read about writers being banned from using "punch above our weight" than hear about nasty sporting folk.

Posted by: Preston Whip at June 23, 2003 11:50 AM

Is it just me, or does Hugh's utopia of "human beings, full of joie de vivre, imbued with love for their fellow humans", never striving, never reaching for greater potential, sound a helluva lot like 'Brave New World'?

What an utter dickwad.

Posted by: Andrew D. at June 23, 2003 12:30 PM

I knew that the world-view reflected in this article reminded me of something. That's it: Brave New World. You nailed it.

Posted by: Mork at June 23, 2003 01:14 PM

Reminds me of a very funny scene in a Kurt Vonnegut book set in a socialist future: a stage show where the best dancers had lead weights strapped on, so they didn't stand out from the mediocre ones.

Mackay's references to the medical profession is a cracker. Hey, let's make the top surgeons wear cricket gloves so they can't get too obsessive about their performance.

Posted by: The at June 24, 2003 03:28 PM