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Sport and life

August 22nd, 2002

The Heckler column in the SMH is an interesting experiment, with variable results. Today’s piece, on recent sporting scandals in Sydney, is a gem. The “bigger” scandal, about salary cap breaches by the Canterbury Bulldogs is a yawnfest, and Ubersportingpundit Scott Wickstein was right to give it short shrift.
The more interesting example, which is worth Scott’s attention, is that professionals are now being hired for the Greater Public (=private) Schools rugby competition. In addition, players are encouraged to repeat year 12 so that they’ll be bigger and stronger than their opponents. Only the public sector ring-in to the GPS, Sydney Boy’s High has failed to catch on, and after losing 104-0 against one semi-pro team, it decided to forfeit rather than risk injuries to its players. Our heckler writes:

“As for the battered lads from Sydney Boys’ High, they’ve just learnt the most valuable lessons they can learn if they’re going to take their place among our society’s elites: never give a sucker an even break; winning really is all that counts; all’s fair in business and sport; unless a tactic is explicitly forbidden it’s OK; if it is forbidden, there will always be a way around it; fail to match the opposition’s morality and you’ll be out of the game; money buys everything; the big (bull)dog eats first; and, most of all, don’t fall for your own mythology.”

Advocates of market-oriented reform will be pleased to know that at least some in the public sector are catching on. I’ve heard of cases of teams boosted by Year 12 repetition in sports-oriented state schools, though it seems to be on the initiative of individuals rather than schools at this stage.

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