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Friday, June 24, 2011

24th June - When Worlds Collide

In sport there was once the sense of Corinthian spirit. You played for enjoyment, and winning was a bonus. The camaradaries experienced on the sporting fields, helped build the team spirit within the armed forces and the world of business. People enjoyed success, and would ensure that their team mates would enjoy it to. Businesses spend millions a year on trying to build teams within their business to emulate what came naturally on the sporting field.

We still hold these ideals in our sport. Our sportmen are our heroes, we cheer on our teams, we enjoy associating ourselves with them to feel a sense of belonging. They are wholesome, focussed  and clean living, famous for their on field expolits only.

In music and the arts, we like to see creative passion. We like the tortured souls and their imperfect personalities. It is seen as a sign of their genius. No one bats an eyelid, when a singer checks into rehab for drink or drugs abuse. It is part of what has made them a genius. Louis Armstrong was addicted to cannibis - he smoked it on the toilet, with a crossword. Lady Day was a heroin addict - would Good Morning Heartache sound so soulful if her voice was not affected by heroin? Mick Jagger the erstwhile sex machine wouldn't have had so much kudos without the Mars Bar.

As sport has commercialised, (players at the top of their profession have always been paid, even if nominally amateur) they have joined the ranks of celebrity, as they have tried to maximise their earnings whilst in the public view. Sport has always been a short career, but was seen as the way of life and 'better than working for a living'. Sportsmen managed to build a second career like the rest of the population has had to adapt to, as publicans, businessmen etc. Now even an average sportman sells his image rights, and neer has to work again.

The boundaries are blurring between showbiz and sport. Both court celebrity. We are, however, more accepting of the foibles of showbiz, we want our sportsmen to be role models. Many sportsmen don't seem to have grapsed this. Brand Beckham, as much as I hate what he is, an average international player, that never really set a World Cup alight in the same way as Messi, Pele, or Maradonna did, is the most famous footballer in the world. He is famous even where football isn't played. Clever agents have him promoting everything. Beckham isn't as stupid as his whiny child-like voice suggests. He realises the responsibility that comes with sport and fame, and has led a relatively quiet family life. (Apart form Rebecca Loos, but even then it blew over relatively quickly.)

Other sportsmen do not seem to have understood the game quite as well. Danny Cipriani was a wholesome rugby player with skills that Jonny could only dream about before he found celebrity with the daily-getting-younger Kelly Brook. George Best had skill Beckham could only dream about, but preferred Miss Worlds and alcohol. Gavin Henson seesm incapable of understanding that he is a sportsman first and a celebrity second, and is prepared to gamble everything any Welsh boy dreamed of, on a reality tv show. Prior to Charlotte, he lived rugby, after, rugby seems to be a sideline to the celebrity culture he has bought into. Mike Philipps is guilty of crass stupidity, which maybe why Duffy dumped him. If he had drunk in a less public place, and ate in a more salubrious restaurant, he'd have probably been given a lift home by the police, not to the station. We judge these young men differently to the way we judge our showbiz stars. Throw a telly out of the window, eat a bat and Ozzie's sales become greater. Play a bad game after being refused a Big Mac and you destroy the dreams of a nation.

PS. Apparently the Welsh Squad are being trained in Hot Yoga. This allows better 'cool down and stretching' after training. Ryan Giggs is a practitioner, and he puts down his longevity to the move known as 'The Cat'. On commenting to my Welsh Friend about this, she said that she thought Ryan preferred 'Doggie', and that his sister in law was better than Amy Winehouse as she could cope with 2 Giggs in one night.

(I'll get my coat.)

When Worlds Collide - Biffy Clyro not the tone-deaf Essex builder.

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