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A Life Without Sport

By Alasdair McClintock on May 7, 2020 in Sport

You can have your Fyodor Dostoevsky, I’ll keep my James Tedesco. Photo: Victor Radley

Last Saturday afternoon I heard the birds singing in my backyard for the first time. It could have been a beautiful moment, but they were Indian mynas, so I immediately ran out and hurled some empty beer cans at them. Bastards. They were after my worms, newly liberated from their compost orgy. There’s a good chance I wouldn’t have heard those invaders, if I’d been enjoying my usual autumn afternoon of NRL or NBA, so, while COVID-19 may be an evil son-of-a-bitch, at least it saved my worms.
But most sports fans don’t care about my worms, and I don’t blame them. I’d probably sacrifice all of them for one more round of NRL. An earthworm massacre, for a sweet Kalyn Ponga cut-out pass and brief respite from the crushing existential vacuum, is a small price to pay. What cost for a whole season? Don’t push me, you and I both don’t want to know how dark I’d be willing to go.
One surprising thing I’ve learned about myself though, is that I’m all for taking away liberties and quarantining NRL players for our entertainment. Thankfully, it seems like Todd Greenberg and Peter V’landys are too. We can only hope they go through with it. Such ruthless disregard for basic humanity should be celebrated amongst sports administrators. V’landys strikes me as the kind of guy who could slit your throat, convince you it’s for the best, and have you thank him for it as you fall to the ground bleeding.
Because what can a sports fan do without sport? Speak to their families? Engage with the classics? Don’t be ridiculous. These are the very things we’re trying to avoid. You can have your Fyodor Dostoevsky, I’ll keep my James Tedesco, thank you very much. At least Jimmy T doesn’t hate the Turks. He’d sooner bring people to their feet than watch them drop to their knees. Who is the better man?
To add insult to injury, you can’t even play it, unless you are fortunate to have a yard and family unit big enough. But that could be the solution right there. A call to arms for people with large families to begin organising sports competitions in their backyards and stream it online. I don’t care if your fullback is only three years old! Is he any good under the high ball?
The other option is virtual sports, but that is an ugly boulevard full of fat incels, high-sugar drinks and fluorescent children with no social skills. I’d sooner see society remain in permanent lockdown than accept that repugnant horror show as entertainment.
So, while the real heroes fight in our hospitals to keep our vulnerable safe (I tip my hat to you), my worms and I will sit patiently and wait for our sporting heroes to return. They may not be risking their lives, but I sometimes wonder if they’re inadvertently saving ours.