Sport and soppiness do go together. There is something endearingly schmaltzy abou winners and flags and the thrill of triumph and the anthem playing for you and the confetti snowing down and the fans cheering.
Me, I love being a leaky faucet, it is so uplifting. But better than the giving of the laurel wreath is the distilled emotion and recognition for comrades no longer there, like fallen soldiers in battle, if you believe that sport is a war without bullets.
There he is, the captain of the newly minted world champions in cricket wearing a black band with PH written on it as he holds the trophy. Michael Clarke acknowledged Phillip Hughes who would have been part of this incredible team if it wasn’t for that tragic and freak November accident on the field.
Michael said: “I think for everybody in Australian cricket it’s been a really tough few months. Tonight is certainly dedicated to our little brother and our team-mate Phillip Hughes. And we will have one for him when we celebrate tonight.”
I thought it was one of the most touching and sentimental gestures in modern sport.
There couldn’t have been a dry eye in the team or in the stands or among TV viewers thousands of miles away.
I was wondering if the Hughes family was in the stadium. They must have been and indeed so proud their son had such great friends.
But there was somebody else at the venue whose courage and guts warmed the heart and made you stand up and salute him. Martin Crowe, former New Zealand
captain, the most recent entrant to the Hall of Fame and dying of double-hit lymphoma, made the trip after a haunting ‘confession’ that it might be his last hurrah, cheering on the players he regards as the “sons I never had”.
“I will hold back tears all day long. I will gasp for air on occasions. I will feel like a nervous parent,” he wrote, adding it might be the last match he ever watches as the sands run out."
The Black Caps could not give him the Cup but they gave it their all and then some and let Martin know that his cricketing legacy was in good hands.
Moments like this count because they signpost the fact that if we never meet again this parting was well made.
To fight the odds and be the victor, to strive and not to yield, that is what it is all about. You compete to win. That is why I do not understand the new system that is
manifesting itself at school level these days.
They have worked out some new formula in which everyone is a winner. This is a global phenomenon and is predicated to the belief that children must not feel like
they have lost.
Ostensibly, it is supposed to bolster the confidence of the lesser endowed. So, everyone in the race or competition gets the same treatment. Happened to a kid in
I can understand giving everyone a certificate for taking part. That is good. But you cannot give everybody the same trophy or deny the first three cups and medals because at a young age you are conning them… life is not equal, there are winners and losers at every stage.
One of the bizarre stories I heard was of a child being removed from the race because he was just too good and would have won easily.
The school authorities said it was not fair on the other kids.
Just think about the kid’s family, grandparents and all, armed with cameras, totally bewildered by the absence of the child they had come to witness hopefully take the podium.
The way I see it, there is no point in taking part if there are no winners.
Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has offered an unusual half-apology after his final World Cup sledging of New Zealand, suggesting that liquid celebrations may have fuelled his frank comments during a radio interview.
The arch sledger had been at the forefront of big “send-offs” for Kiwi batsmen Martin Guptill and Grant Elliott as well as spinner Daniel Vettori after their key dismissals in Sunday’s final in Melbourne, where Australia thrashed their traditional rivals by seven wickets.
The next day Haddin went on local radio and, asked about the send-offs, added a few more remarks. “You know what? They deserved it,” the wicketkeeper said.
“They were that nice to us in New Zealand (when Australia lost a pool match) and we were that uncomfortable. They were that nice to us the whole week.
“I said in the team meeting: ‘I can’t stand for this anymore. We’re going at them as hard as we can.’
@CricketAus Disgusting the way your boys keep 'sledging' – Brad Haddin probably sledges his own kids!
— Ryan Chadha (@RyanChadha) April 1, 2015
“I said, ‘I’m not playing cricket like this. If we get another crack at these guys in the final I’m letting everything (out). And I’m not going to play another one-day game so they can suspend me for as long as they like.”
But Haddin has since tempered his words and suggested the celebrations after winning the tournament might have had something to do with his comments.
“We were celebrating a World Cup win and enjoying ourselves after a long tournament,” he said.
“In hindsight, we should have stayed off the radio. If I offended anyone, it was never my intention.”
Defeated New Zealand arrived home Tuesday after diplomatically playing down the send-offs.
“It wasn’t really discussed within the group,” said captain Brendon McCullum. “Send-offs are send-offs. It’s not something we necessarily are concerned about.”
Lehmann, however, defended his vice-captain.
“He’s copped a bit, hasn’t he?” Lehmann said of Haddin. “We like to play our game, no-one got reported out of the game, so we must have played it fair. It was a little bit disappointing, but people are entitled to their opinions and you’re going to have good and bad times. You accept that and you move on.
“We’re happy with the way we played obviously. We knew we wanted to be really aggressive against them, and look, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
“You’re supposed to enjoy it, enjoy it in the right way and look after yourself and look after everyone else, that’s the main thing. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions.”
Looking ahead, Lehmann is looking forward to seeing what Pakistani-born wrist spinner Fawad Ahmed can do on the tour of the West Indies ahead of the Ashes.
He added: “He gives us that added variation you might need in the West Indies and England, with the off spinner in Lyon and the bloke who takes it away in the leg spinner who we rate highly.”
Mostafa Kamal quit as president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday after accusing India of influencing World Cup result.