Relativity in sport

As erstwhile founding father of the Anti-Football League, Keith Dunstan (Opinion, 29/12) is well placed to comment on some of the excesses of Australian sporting fandom. However he, like Guy Thevenet (Letters, 29/12), might do well to recognise that the true thinking behind some of the more flowery commentary on Australia’s Ashes performance is far more varied than meets the eye.

To be sure there are some Australian sports fans – too many probably, for whom life itself is worth living, or not, according to the colour of the medal or which captain finally holds aloft the trophy. The sooner they get over it, the better for us all. But many who share their vocabulary do not share their myopic passions. We join in the collective banter, the language of the herd, not because the scoreboard ultimately matters but because our sense of mutual belonging matters profoundly.

Sport is one of the great levellers of our culture. There are probably few subjects that so quickly and painlessly make friends out of strangers, regardless of estate. Ignore the language. It’s just sport.


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