It’s just a game

My sisters-in-blogging have been talking about the treatment that has been dished out to Michael Clark and Lara Bingle by Sydney Morning Herald opinionator, Peter Roebuck.

For those in Australia and New Zealand who have managed to avert their eyes thus far, Michael Clarke is the vice-captain of the Australian cricket team (for our sisters in the United States, and Canada, and other places around the globe, this means that he’s close to beatification), and Lara Bingle is engaged to him. She has had a horrible time of late, mostly because a few years ago, an ex-boyfriend of hers took a photo of her as she was getting out of the shower, circulated it to all his mates, and then it was published in a magazine. Mindy at Hoyden about Town and Legal Eagle at Skeptic Lawyer have written about it.

A couple of days ago, Michael Clarke took leave from the Australian cricket team in order to come home to Sydney to be with Lara. It’s not yet clear exactly why he did so, and frankly, I don’t want to know – it’s his business. But, JaysusMaryJosephandallthesaints, has there ever been an outburst of criticism of him, and of her. The most spectacular piece of inanity (so far, excluding comments on news sites, of course) has come from Peter Roebuck, who lays all the blame with Bingle, though en route he manages to imply that Clarke must have a small… is not a real grownup man.

Jo Tamar at Wallaby provides a translation, Kim at News with Nipples notes the old-time misogyny that Roebuck trots out, and Katie Olsen at The Dawn Chorus discusses the diminishing of Lara Bingle.

I found the Roebuck column incredible. Clarke has a couple of choices: look after his fiance, who seems to be in desperate need, or play cricket. You know, one of these things is not like the other… One is a matter of our deepest connections to other people, and the other is, well, a game.

Peter Roebuck, repeat after me: Cricket is a game. Cricket is a game. Cricket is a game.

I know, I know. In sports-obsessed Australia, cricket is damn near close to being a religion. But that just shows how mistaken people are about the importance of cricket, or indeed, any other sport. It’s not life and death, it’s not of any great moment, it’s just a game. Even if you try an analytical turn, and point out that sport is the modern day version of bread and circuses, or opiate of the masses, the fact is that in the greater scheme of life, who wins this match or that match, who provides the best entertainment, who lines the pockets of the media moguls with the most shekels, matters not a whit. It’s just a bloody game. And when it comes to playing a game, or doing your best to support your partner in a very, very difficult time, then if you have to think about it for more than an instant, you are pathetic.

That’s not all… Roebuck witters on to say that all the great sportsmen have wonderful, supportive wives at home. That may well be the case. But given his thundering misogyny, I’m willing to bet that if one of these great sportsmen and his wife had decided to bring that marriage to an end, then suddenly, the man’s “special contribution” would be all that mattered, and the wife’s on-going support that enabled the career would count for nothing.


10 responses to “It’s just a game

  1. Peter Roebuck is a misogynist idiot. I have very rarely agreed with anything he writes. Nicely critiqued.

  2. Way back when this first started, I suggested that some of the male bitchiness going around Bingle was jealousy of Michael Clarke: of his beautiful partner, his cricketing skills, his place at the top of the Australian social pecking order. This is proof, if any were actually needed, of that fact.

    Newsflash, men of Australia, you are not Michael Clarke. Now pick yourselves up and get over it.

  3. What Legal Eagle said.

  4. I feel like banging my head against the wall when I hear/read anything about either of them, or Brendan Fevola. For goodness sake many people just aren’t that interested!

  5. Pingback: A sports journalist’s view of male-female relationships « Wallaby

  6. Thanks for the linklove! It says a lot about Roebuck’s article that, just in this little corner of the blogosphere, there are four different approaches to describe Roebuck’s misogyny.

    I wish we lived in a post-feminist world where an article like Roebuck’s was written for the sole purpose of the pleasure that we feminists obviously take in ripping it apart. /snark

  7. Hot of the press this morning, apparently Lara was seen leaving the Bondi apartment she shares with Michael without her engagement ring. Some reporter (male) from Ch9 was insisting that the engagement was off. His insistence was rather…shrill. I wondered what investment he had in it. I did hear the other day that Michael Clarke’s father is also ill, and may be the reason that Michael chose to come home. But of course it’s all being played out as Lara’s fault. I feel sorry for both of them. What chance do they have?

  8. Also Roebuck has completely ignored the fact that Australian cricket is having a hard time fitting in one team all the talented cricketers we have right now. So there are currently 26 fit players, excluding Siddle who is out with injury, Clarke who is in Australia and Brett Lee who I think is also injured at this time. 26 is more than twice the number they can field, including the 12th man. That 26 doesn’t even include Steve Smith but should. Michael Clarke is a bloody good cricketer, in a country that is at the moment overflowing with them. Get over it Peter Roebuck. If NZ beat us, it’s because they are also a bloody good cricket team, not because Michael Clarke isn’t there.

  9. If NZ beat us, it’s because they are also a bloody good cricket team, not because Michael Clarke isn’t there.

    That’s very sweet, Mindy. Following the NZ cricket team is an exercise in frustration. On a good day, they can beat the entire world. That happens about once every seven years or so. The rest of the time? It’s a story of dropped catches and abominable batting collapses. If the NZ team beats the Australian team, it will be because the Flying Spaghetti Monster has touched them with her noodly appendage….

    I have long since given up ever expecting them to win.

  10. I suspect it’s all part of a grand plan to lull everyone into a sense of false security! Plus they have already beaten us on one occassion this time.