Farewell to the Bullets

For quite a few years now, I’ve been following both the fortunes of the Brisbane Bullets and those of an economic system centred on high levels of debt, validated by capital gains. These two interests have collided in an unfortunate fashion with the announcement that the Bullets license has been returned to the National Basketball League. This has been more-or-less inevitable since the owner, Eddy Groves, ran into financial difficulties arising from the impact of the credit crisis on his childcare group, ABC Learning.

I’ll doubtless have more to say on the credit crisis, and perhaps on whether private ownership of sporting teams is a sustainable model for Australia. But for now I’d just like to say thanks to the players and staff of the Bullets for providing me and my family with lots of fun and excitement over the years I’ve lived here in Brisbane, particularly in their last championship season 2006-07.

The flame of nationalism

As the Olympic torch touches down in Australia, it is hard to see how any good can come of the entire exercise.

After Kevin Rudd’s visit to Beijing, which seemed to herald a newly mature relationship between Australia and China, we’ve spent a week or more embroiled in a petty squabble, of a kind which is all too familiar in international relations, over the role of Chinese torch attendants/security guards, with the Australian government insisting that all security will be provided by our police and the Chinese saying that the attendants will “protect the torch with their bodies”.

George Orwell observed over 60 years ago that

Even if one didn’t know from concrete examples (the 1936 Olympic Games, for instance) that international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred, one could deduce it from general principles.

and history since then has given plenty of examples. It looks as if the 2008 Olympics will join them.
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One up!

Just back from the Entertainment Centre, where the Brisbane Bullets scored a thrilling 3-point win over Melbourne in the first of the best-of-five Grand Final Series, making their record 21 wins in succession. This might be the year!

New football thread

Due to the fact that a well-known leftwing political ideology contains the name of a drug for male performance problems, much touted by spammers, my blog software is rejecting all comments on the football post below. Sorry about this – I’m going to raise it with my hosting service. In the meantime, please comment here.

Capitalism, soc1alism and football

There’s nothing remarkably original about the observation that of the world’s football codes, soccer* is the one that is consistently organised on capitalist lines. Most sporting leagues have a whole series of redistributive taxes and regulations, such as drafts and salary caps, designed to keep the competition open. Even if you follow a team that hasn’t won for decades, like South Melbourne/Sydney in AFL before last year, it’s reasonable to hope that your turn will come again.
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October surprise in Austria

The Socialists won a surprise victory (or at least a plurality) in the recent Austrian elections. The outcome appears to promise a departure from power for Jorg Haider, although the combined vote of the far-right parties was still 15 per cent, which is disappointing.

For CT election-followers, the outcome is of interest in another respect. According to the reports I’ve read, all the polls and all the pundits got this one wrong. So, if betting markets got it right, that would be pretty strong support for claims about the wisdom of crowds. But my (admittedly desultory) scan hasn’t produced any info. Can anyone point to market odds for this outcome?
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Another great Grand Final, with some excellent play and some misses that will be rued for a long time to come. I’ve never followed either team, but men watching a sporting match have to take sides, and I went for the Swans, while my son backed the Eagles.