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.
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.