TUMBY BAY - I’ve been especially careful this week to avoid television sets, but it’s been harder than I thought.
Everywhere I go they are there; be it the local supermarket, airport or doctor’s surgery.
And they’re all showing the same program, the Commonwealth Games: an endless, mind-numbing cavalcade of running, jumping, swimming, pedalling and throwing of objects.
I’ve got nothing against sport; if it turns you on that’s well and good.
It’s a great equaliser and a great substitute for more violent tendencies, like warfare.
Indeed, if our great religions made sport a mandatory part of their faith the world might be a much more peaceful place.
Well, in theory at least.
While sport is supposed to be about fair play and teamwork it is also used as a training ground for a certain sort of militancy. It is said it teaches boys to be men. What does that mean if not to be aggressive? Most football codes extol aggression in players.
Looking at ball sports, I never cease to be amazed at the infinite variety of on field targets that have been invented for the purpose.
Teams compete to put a ball through all sorts of arrangements of posts, bars, nets, sticks and little hoops on poles. The sexual message is overwhelming. Men being men and maybe some women being men too.
Ocker Australia loves sport. In what other country would you get two solid weeks of headlines about a couple of dopey cricketers sandpapering a ball?
I’m still not sure the public was mesmerised because the players were cheating or because they were cheating and got caught.
Sport is full of cheats. Life is full of cheats. Sporty types take drugs to cheat. Who knows what else they do to cheat?
Winning has become paramount. To simply compete is not enough. People who lose are seen as failures.
The unstated truth is that, if you have to cheat to win…. so be it.
And just when we thought we’d seen it all, along comes Papua New Guinea to add an entirely new element to the mix – bribery.
I guess you can’t expect anything less from a country that is a world champion at corruption.
Where else would you see a government sports minister openly and brazenly offer athletes K100,000 to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games? Just like he did at the Pacific Games and the Commonwealth Games before that.
With prizes like that on offer, what sort of athlete is not going to think about cheating, whether swallowing a performance enhancing drug or anything else to gain an edge?
What sort of message does it send to the children of Papua New Guinea? Win at all costs and reap the rewards?
For those purists in Papua New Guinea who truly love their sport, I want to say this: your government, after corrupting everything else, has now corrupted the one thing that should not be corrupted.
They have destroyed the ethic of fair play and teamwork.
That is definitely not what sport is about.
Why are you sitting by meekly and letting it happen?