depression

Mental as anything

My last post ruffled some feathers. Unfortunately I’ll never know whose because they posted anonymously – but I’d like to point out a couple of things to anonymous – and their potential cohort of anonymous friends who like to post ridiculous comments.
1. My last post had very little to do with depression. If it turns out that Trescothick is suffering from depression then my sympathies are with him. If however, we take him at face value (and according to his official website) then he’s not suffering from depression – he simply struggles with being on the road 300 days a year in his life as one of England’s top cricketers. In fact here are some quotes that suggest it’s not a matter of depression:

“The opener now claims he flew home early from India because of a ‘virus’ — even though it was previously said he had domestic problems.
Tresco, 30, said: “My problems are now very much behind me, I just needed a break.
“Playing six years of solid international cricket just takes it toll after a while.
“You get to certain stages of your career and you just need to be with your family to recharge the batteries.

“We play so much. We spend 300 nights of the year out of our own house, either travelling the world or in hotels preparing for games in England.”

Now I’m no psychologist. And he may be in denial, or trying to avoid being tarred with the public stigma that comes with depression -I don’t know, and that wasn’t a point I was discussing in my post.

I was shocked by the concept that an international sportsperson could claim work related stress, because as we all know – SPORT IS ONLY A GAME. That was my point – it was a point that segued nicely into the story about Shaun Berrigan and the fact he was sacrficing his brother’s wedding to play off the bench for Australia. I did not mention depression – my post was an indictment of the way sport has shifted from entertainment to something much more significant for many people. The example these stressed out, emotional wrecks are setting for the younger generation of sports people worries me. I did not comment on depression – I’m simply not qualified to do so. I may have made some reference to the issue in my response to some of the comments but I’ll get to that next. An interesting side note is that the full page photo the Courier Mail ran of a bedraggled, baggy eyed Trescothick getting off the plane in England was in fact not him but an unnamed English business man.

2. Play the ball not the man – when commenting please stick to commenting on the issue at hand. I’m not publishing my opinions asking to be attacked for them. Feel free to criticise what I have to say – but if you choose to anonymously insult me – I will delete the post. I will also reply – and because you’re anonymous I may be scathing and somewhat vindictive. I have the decency to put my name to my opinions – please do me, and other readers, the same courtesy by putting your name to yours. Also play the ball that’s being played – not some different issue. You can’t play golf while the rest of us are playing football. Whoever the anonymous poster was who brought suicide into the discussion yesterday was using a pathetic attempt at pathos by bringing in an extremely emotive, and sensitive issue into a discussion where it had no place to begin with. No one can argue with a post that wields suicide as a persuasive tool – you instantly place yourself on some sort of unassailable pedestal of rhetoric. That’s poor. No one needs to put up with shoddy emotional arguments.

3. Stick to the facts. It’s all well and good to argue using hearsay and some “statistics” that you’ve heard of supporting your position. The fact is 74% of statistics are made up on the spot. If you’re going to throw facts – scientific, economic or whatever at me – please back it up with evidence. I made the original post based on quotes from Trescothick available on the public record and reports of the story as it unfolded. Unless you’re an expert in your field – try to at least have an expert backing up your position. The exception being if you’re a certified member of the flat earth society – then I’m happy to laugh at your delusion.

4. Please read the post before commenting – don’t comment about what you think the post is about, comment about what it is about. Or leave a message saying hi. With your name. This blog exists so that my friends – or random strangers – can read my thoughts, and be kept up to speed with my life – and so that I have something to do at work, and can keep in touch with people as such I’m all for discourse – but please don’t go putting words in my mouth, I do a good enough job of making myself look stupid without your help. Finally, if you do suffer from depression, and you were insulted by any implied or explicit things I may have said in these last two posts – I apologise. Please seek professional help… or something – just don’t try to play cricket for England.

Stress Fractures

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.

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