Professional sports people are finally catching up to the rest of the world when it comes to the concept of stress leave. It seems the Poms can no longer handle a bit of spirited competition with their fragile emotional psyches preventing them from partaking in competition with the Australians. Marcus Trescothick has just pulled out of the Ashes tour due to stress related illness. His trip home came close on the heels of British Rugby League half back Sean Long’s decision to give the Tri-Nations tour the flick heading home due to “emotional fatigue and exhaustion” – at least he had the excuse that his wife is heavily pregnant and about to give birth. These poor fragile sports stars. How tough life must be for them with their million dollar salaries and their fancy cars, fast women and rigorous playing schedule. Yes that’s right folks. Sport is hard work. All that running around is enough to give you heaps of emotional baggage. And the constant sledging must surely take a toll on your soul. Joel is right, sarcasm can be hard to pick up in text – so here’s an emoticon :P. When will these sports stars stop being so precious. Despite the pressure of having a nation’s hopes and expectations riding on your shoulders, at the end of the day sport is only a game. While people may not be prepared to forgive and forget when a player cracks on the field, and is sent off, possibly costing his team the World Cup (ala David Beckham) – the nature of sport means that new targets will constantly present themselves (ala Christiano Ronaldo – playing right wing for Man Utd is a position fraught with danger). You’d think Trescothick and co were trying to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis, or tackling climate change, or trying to work out exactly how they get the shells onto a smartie (which I’m researching for a later blog). At the end of the day these sports people are meant to be competitive mentally and physically – it’s not a matter of getting out of the kitchen when you can’t hack the heat – you shouldn’t be there to begin with. How can a player get to a position where he’s representing his country and bail when it all gets too hard? All the talk about how tough it is being in the spotlight, having to be a role model, training too hard – it’s all part and parcel of being a sports star – the cushy day job and good pay don’t come for nothing… at the end of the day these players have pretty much buggered up their team’s chances before a ball is bowled, or the whistle blows – so good on ‘em for that.
The “it’s only a game” perspective is in danger of completely falling by the wayside – Shaun Berrigan is set to miss being best man at his brother’s wedding just to play 80 minutes of football. I’ve never heard anything more absurd. 92% of people who responded to the Courier Mail survey said Shaun should miss the game. Coach Ricky Stuart said no. Coach Ricky Stuart is in danger of becoming Phil Gould’s successor as the most annoying person in Rugby League.