No sport optimises the villain more than championship wrestling. The ring announcer yells out the name of the baddy who enters the stadium to ear splitting boos and hisses, their response is utter contempt to the fans who yell louder with failing arms and hand gestures. They are the people we love to hate but a lot of us secretly hope they win, they are showmen.
But, where does showmanship end and bad sportsmanship begin? Let’s first look at the definition;
Macmillan Dictionary defines showmanship as “the ability to do things in a lively and enthusiastic way that attracts attention”.
So, that leads me to Anthony Mundine, a man who has never been short on talking himself up, and in the world of professional sport there is nothing wrong with that, especially boxing. Who can forget the immortal words “I Am The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali telling the world what a lot of us already knew, and for a period of time and some timeless bouts he was. The thing with Ali was, you always felt he was a few seconds from bursting into laughter, like a naughty school boy waiting for the smell to become apparent to everyone.
Now as someone with a healthy self-confidence (some may say ego) and someone who is prepared to say and stand up for his beliefs, my take on Anthony’s recent controversy about not standing for the Australian national anthem is this. I thought it was bad form and showed a certain lack of class.
But let’s be real about this, how many sporting events does everyone stand for Advance Australia Fair?, not everyone and let’s not even discuss singing it.
If Anthony believes Advance Australia Fair does not represent all Australians and is racist in its words, well I support his right to believe that and would stand up for that belief, but without access to his bank balance, it would seem this country has allowed him to succeed in his chosen careers.
Really I don’t care if he stands, sits or turns himself inside out when the national anthem is played but don’t crack it when people disagree with you in the strongest terms.
So where does showmanship end and bad sportsmanship begin and what message does this send to the kids watching in admiration?
It begins when you continually protest you were robbed, it begins when you blame your race for your defeat, it begins when you bowl under arm, it begins when you try to return serve with the handle of your racquet and it begins when you take banned performance enhancing substances etc etc.
History may remember the villain but will always remember the true sportsperson.
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