A whinge and a prayer as Australian Open complaints take flight

Fitzphile Chris Yates comes good with an oldie but a goldie, reworked for the occasion:
Q. How do you know a plane full of tennis players has just landed?
A. The whining doesn’t stop when they turn off the engines.

For name’s sake…

In the wake of Tim Paine’s rather awkward humiliation of having sledged the Indian team in Sydney about what would happen to them at the Gabba, only to lead Australia to their first loss at that ground in 33 years, it was hardly surprising he became the target of many free character assessments from much of the Indian Twittersphere.

Tim Paine’s sledge to Ravi Ashwin fell flat.Credit:Getty

Alas, a Kiwi soccer player with a similar name, @timpayne_1, finding himself flooded with abuse, felt obliged to appeal to his namesake, tweeting to the Australian captain: “Hi @tdpaine36, can you help me out here. I’m doing my best. Hope you’re well.”

This prompted digital media basketball guy @SteveSmithffx, who of course has the same name as the former Australian captain, to reply: “Hi mate. Welcome aboard. Let me show you where they keep the booze. You’ll need it.”

Stars and gripes

You will remember that thing, when you and I were young, when you would meet someone attractive, and you were just mentally trying them on for size as a romantic partner, when out it would come: “I’m a Sagittarius, what are you?”

“I’m … calling for a … TAXXXXXI!”

Back then, it wasn’t that a person who took star signs seriously was not necessarily a nice person, it was just that they were like people who actually believe a woman made out of a rib once took an apple from a talking snake and that is where all the trouble started. They were fine, just not people you wanted to spend heaps of time with.

These days it is different. These days, I have been earnestly counselled by she who became my romantic partner that it is not nice to so gratuitously insult whole swathes of the population and, in any case, at least star sign people and religious nutters tend to be on the benign side of things. No, in the here and now, in the Age of the Plague, the ones to watch out for – because they are bloody well dangerous – are the conspiracy theorists, those poor pork chops who maintain they know where it has come from and point fingers at everything and everyone from the World Health Organisation and 5G towers to Bill Gates. Really they do!

Credit:John Shakespeare

I am looking at you, 1987 Wimbledon winner Pat Cash. Yup, in August Cash put on his social media the link to a film promoting such theories, a film so execrable even Facebook banned it, plastering it with all kinds of warnings that what follows is such dangerous nutterdom that you watch it at your own risk.

Seriously, Pat? What happened to you? It is one thing to have a mind weak enough to be sucked into such absurdities, but to use your platform as a one-time sports hero to suck in other weak minds is outrageous. Rather than you blowing the whistle on the causes of coronavirus as you think, you are in fact the prime exemplar of what I wrote about in July – a super-spreader for Moronavirus. Stop it.

And you lot stop it, too. This really is a big deal. People like Pat Cash and Pete Evans peddling conspiracy theories, and people like Alan Jones saying the plague is no big deal in the first place, directly undercuts the efforts of all those on the frontlines trying to control the plague and deal with its outcomes.

But, you insist, am I being unfair to Cash, attacking him simply for his views? Nup. Those views cause people to die unnecessarily. And what is Cash himself, if not grossly unfair to the likes of Gates? A few years ago, for Channel Seven, I interviewed the Microsoft founder in Seattle, focusing on the $US31 billion he and his wife Melinda had given to causes around the world to eliminate disease and poverty.

He has given nearly as much again in the years since. And this is his reward? Being accused of being behind the whole plague so he can get rich? Seriously, that is the stuff Cash is promoting! In short, Pat Cash, take your brain-dead conspiracy theories, and shove them. Serious people are still trying to get on top of this, and if you can’t help, at the very least shut the ruck up.

Roberto Bautista Agut.Credit:AP

What they said

This sledge, from Australian captain Tim Paine to Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin in the Sydney Test, did not age well: “Can’t wait to get you to the Gabba. At least my team mates like me dickhead.” India indeed went to the Gabba where, as Australia lost their first Test there since 1988, India won the series.

Spanish tennis player Roberto Bautista Agut on quarantine in Melbourne: “It’s the same [as being in prison], but with Wi-Fi.”

Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend, Vanessa Sierra: “This is the worst part of quarantine. I don’t wash my own hair; I’ve never washed my own hair. It’s just not something that I do. I usually have hairdressers that do it twice a week for me.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussing the move by Cricket Australia to remove the badging of “Australia Day” from their promotion of the BBL games on January 26: “When those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, all those years ago, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.”

Kevin Rudd lines the PM up in reply on Twitter: “So afraid of offending the far right, he lets them spread dangerous coronavirus myths. He won’t criticise Trump’s incitement of insurrection against US Congress. Instead he bashes Cricket Australia for honouring the first Australians.”

Paul McGregor.Credit:Getty Images

Former Dragons coach Paul McGregor on getting the deep six: “They don’t hire you to retire you, they hire you to fire you.”

Stand-in Dragons coach Dean Young after yet another close loss: “Same shit, different day.”

Naomi Osaka on her involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement: “I’m vocal because I believe in the movement and want to try to use my platform to facilitate change. That some people have said we as athletes should stick to sports is really insulting.”

Andy Murray on renaming Margaret Court Arena because of her antediluvian views on homosexuality. “I think that yes, it’s something the sport should consider … I don’t think her values are what tennis stands for. When you get to the Open you want to concentrate on the tennis. Court’s views detract from that.”

Team of the year

Naomi Osaka. Won her third grand slam with a second US Open triumph.

Alex de Minaur. Made it through to the quarter-finals of the US Open, going down fighting to eventual champion Dominic Thiem.

Sam Kerr. Scoring for fun with Chelsea in Women’s Super League.

Novak Djokovic. Ejected from the US Open, essentially for being a dickhead, and has had an ordinary 12 months, when you count hosting his own super-spreader coronavirus event as well before coming to Melbourne and whining about our strict quarantine regulations.

Steve Georgallis. The likeable interim Bulldogs coach who had come close many times, finally guided his team to a fabulous and shock 26-16 win over premiership contender Rabbitohs.

Randwick Council. Has installed an accessibility walkway across the sands of Malabar, to enable kids with disabilities to get their feet in the froth.

Hamish McLennan and Rob Clarke. Between them, the chair and CEO of Rugby Australia pushed through the idea of the national anthem having its first verse sung in the Eora language by the talented Olivia Fox, just before the Test against Argentina. It was no less than a shining moment in Australian history.

RIP Greg Growden. The long-time Herald rugby correspondent passed away in November after a long battle with cancer. His last words just before shuffling off this mortal coil came when his son Angus told him softly, “Dad, Argentina have beaten the All Blacks.“
“Good,” said Greg, and left us.

Sport newsletter

Sports, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to the Herald‘s weekday newsletter here and The Age‘s weekly newsletter here.

Most Viewed in Sport

Source: Read Full Article