Jack's column: Oi, Kiwis, we won ... thet’s awkward

I GOT angry listening to the cricket this week.

I never thought I'd say that.

I love cricket.

More to the point, I never thought I'd say it in a week when Australia restored the natural order of world cricket by taking the top mantle in defeating New Zealand.

But what really got my goat was when the predominantly Kiwi commentary team chose to dummy-spit over the Australians winning despite a couple of displays of poor sportsmanship.

One even said, "Thet's just a luttle awkward."

You guys won the Rugby World Cup!

Well done.

Be proud of that.

It's a remarkable achievement to win any sporting world title, and that's before even taking into account the theoretical disadvantage of being one of the least populous nations of the top tier teams in any world sport.

But just because we Australians have found success too, it doesn't give you guys the right to hurl comments across the ditch belittling our similar achievements.

Listening to New Zealand radio commentary as the most recent Test match between Australia and New Zealand came to its one-sided conclusion, I couldn't help but chuckle at the speakers' more apparent willingness to point out the Aussies' lack of sportsmanship than the Kiwis' lack of - well, err - winning.

For so long, the New Zealand cricket team has publicly prided itself on being the "nice guys" of world sport.

What a load of rot.

I'm not denying them the possibility of actually being nice guys.

I've never met any of them, and for all I know, they'd all be delightful to share a chilled beverage with.

But let's all calm down for a moment here: this is professional sport.

In other words, these guys are paid… to win.

Just as in any professional sort of competition, there aren't any prizes for being the most welcoming to a new teammate on the bus to the game.

Woolworths and Coles?

It's the bottom line that counts.

Liberals and Labor?

It's the power that counts.

Jack McGovern and Kanye West?

It's the… Well, I'm sure something counts.

The point is, it's these people's jobs to play the game as well as they can.

Anything on top of that is an added bonus.

Sure, if you're a nice person, feel free to continue to be a nice person on the field of battle.

Hey, the more the merrier.

But the world, alas, doesn't quite work like that.

It takes all kinds, and a few of those kinds are prone to overstepping that line occasionally.

Don't get me wrong.

I'm not saying certain teams - and, yes, probably the Australian cricket team more than most - don't push the envelope a few centimetres over the edge from time to time.

I'm not saying good sportsmanship isn't something upon which all of our professional athletes should constantly be challenging themselves to improve.

But for New Zealand commentators to sign off from a game while they are watching an opposition team achieve something of pretty fair significance in becoming the number one Test cricket nation in the world by bagging their poor sportsmanship is - well, err - poor sportsmanship.

Well, "thet's awkward".



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