THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #116 – Rainy Day Women

Lots of sport results and then there’s the latest drugs in sport scandal. Just another week in the heady world of elite physical endeavour, I guess.

Australian Rules Football
Exhibition Match
Melbourne 12.12 (84) def Brisbane 11.13 (79)
            The match was played at Jiang Wan Stadium, Shanghai, China. Accounts say 7000 or so were in the crowd and that it was a fine game, with Melbourne’s Liam Jurrah supplying some awesome highlights. Just wish we got to see it.
International Rules
Ireland 1.8.10 (40) def by Australia 0.14.5 (47)
            International Rules is a strange hybrid of Australian Rules and Gaelic football. It is more confusing that either game, is played with a round ball, has 3 scoring potentials and is fast and entertaining. It appears to me to be more Gaelic than Aussie in the structure of the game, etc, but what is disappointing is that true Australian Rules cannot be played with an international team, maybe made up of the best in the rest of the world. Of course, that would be unfair, like the USA fielding a best of the best gridiron team against the rest of the world. Maybe the AFL champ could take on the best of the world, or the SANFL champ could take on the best of the USA or Canada or something. Or anything because International Rules means absolutely nothing to either code.

Cricket
2nd ODI: India v Australia at ACA-VDCA Stadium
            Australia 3/289; India 5/292 (48.5 overs) – India won by 5 wickets
3rd ODI: India v Australia at Nehru Stadium
            Match abandoned due to a lake forming where the outfield used to be.
India won the three match series 1-0.
News
The Pakistan illegal betting disaster terror thing has taken an interesting turn this week with Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif withdrawing his appeal against the charges laid against him. Apparently, he is now waiting to see just what the charges actually are before he appeals. Fair enough. But this brings up another issue – why haven’t the charges been finalised? Is the fact that this was set up by a newspaper and not the IOC embarrassed the IOC so much they are going to say it was just that – a set up and therefore not to be taken seriously? Another big sporting organisation doing something to cover its own arse? Really? Who woulda thunked it? Of course, that is conjecture on my part and there may be a legitimate reason for the delay. But this is clearly not going to end any time soon.

Soccer
A-League Round 10 (cont)
Brisbane Roar 2 def Central Coast Mariners 0
A-League Round 11
Adelaide United 3 def Wellington Phoenix 0
Melbourne Heart 0 drew with Gold Coast United 0
Brisbane Roar 2 def Melbourne Victory 1
Perth Glory 0 def by Sydney 3
News:
Why bother?

Basketball
NBL – Round 2
New Zealand 96 def Perth 94
Wollongong 71 def Townsville 70
Cairns 85 def Adelaide 74
Gold Coast 94 def Townsville 90
Melbourne 66 hammered by Perth 91
WNBL
Apologies for forgetting the ladies! Here’s the catch-up.
Round 1
AIS 64 def by Logan 87
Townsville 69 def by Sydney 75
Adelaide 80 def by Dandenong 94
Bulleen 71 def by Canberra 79
West Coast 48 def by Dandenong 77
Bendigo 43 def by Canberra 64
Logan 72 def by Sydney 76
Round 2
Canberra 73 def Sydney 60
Bendigo 74 def by Dandenong 76
Townsville 73 def by Logan 82
West Coast 86 def Bulleen 75
Canberra 80 def AIS 46
Adelaide 83 def West Coast 74
Round 3
Dandenong 87 def AIS 52
Logan 64 def Canberra 63
West Coast 66 def by Sydney 79
Townsville 67 def by Canberra 81
AIS 53 def by Bendigo 77
News:
As I said last week, I don’t expect a lot of basketball news. In fact, the biggest story was a brawl between China and Brazil during a “friendly” international, resulting in five Chinese players and officials being suspended.
            You know, that might be just the thing to bring back the big crowds to Australian basketball. And how hard would it be to instigate a brawl between Melbourne and Adelaide or anyone and Sydney? Worth thinking about, maybe?

Motorsport
V-8 Supercars – Gold Coast 600
Race 19
1st Cameron McConville / Garth Tander (Commodore VE)
2nd Craig Lowndes / Andy Priaulx (Commodore VE)
3ed Shane van Gisbergen / John McIntyre (Falcon FG)
            A controversial black flag penalty marred the outcome of this race. It makes you think the Gold Coast is cursed. The Indy Car race there fell through (no one really knows why) while the A1GP race was cancelled with a week to go following this. And now controversy in the V8s. Cursed, I tells ya!
Race 20
1st Jamie Whincup / Steve Owen (Commodore VE)
2nd Shane van Gisbergen / John McIntyre (Falcon FG)
3rd Mark Winterbottom / Luke Youlden (Falcon FG)
Formula One – Korean Grand Prix
1st Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
3rd Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
            Neither Webber nor Vettel finished the race, dropping Webber to second and Vettel to fourth on the drivers’ championship list. This means literally any of as many as 5 drivers can win the title this year. One of the closest seasons in years.
News:
And news out of Formula One this week, where Red Bull boss still thinks Vettel is better than Webber, despite Webber being ahead of Vettel in driver’s leader board, even after Vettel has apparently been favoured by the team. Webber was called paranoid for claiming they were favouring Vettel; these comments make it seem as though his paranoia is justified. A European who is relatively young is going to be a better marketer for their Red Bull energy drinks than the better driver. I hope Webber finds a team who treats him fairly because he has proven this year he is a damn fine driver, despite everyone in Australia feeling he was over-rated for far too long. Glad to eat my words on that one!

Rugby Union
Four Nations
New Zealand 24 def England 10
Australia 42 thoroughly embarrassed Papua New Guinea 0

Gymnastics
For those unaware, I was a gymnast, and still occasionally dabble in performance acrobatics (as seen here). As such, I tend to follow Australia’s mostly disappointing gymnastics results.
            But this week Australian Lauren Mitchell won Australia’s first ever artistic gold medal at a World Championships level, defeating all-around champion Aliya Mustafina on the floor. Well done! After the Commonwealth Games where our results were better than expected against Britain and Canada this has topped off a great year for Australian gymnastics.

Australia!
DRUGS IN SPORT DISASTER SCANDAL PROBE INVESTIGATION HORROR ALERT!
Yep, let’s keep this column firmly entrenched in the world of sport for a change. I know, sport in a sports column. So shoot me.
            One of the big local news stories this weekend is the allegation that at least 9 elite sports people have tested positive for a banned substance. It appears to be the same drug – methylhexaneamine, or dimethylamylamine (DMAA) – in each case. This is an ingredient in some nasal decongestants, and has gained notoriety as a common component in party drugs in Australia and New Zealand. It is also on the banned substances list of WADA as of 2009.
            Because of this sudden increase (or spike) in its apparent detection (and hence alleged use), the Australian Sports Ant-Doping Authority have urged athletes to be careful of what they may inadvertently consume.
            The athletes involved are believed to include AFL, NRL and other sporting people. It was pointed out that this may include some members of the Commonwealth Games squad. Just so the media can make it seem like it is the hugest thing ever, I guess. If found guilty, the athletes in question could face a two-year ban. Of course, names have not been released in any official channels (though at least one dirt site did name a NRL player, but that is to be taken with the hugest grain of salt imaginable and I only mention it to show what sort of scum-suckers we have in our media here, just like Britain and the USA). The NRL said is it aware of this happening at lower grades not the higher levels, while the AFL says it could never happen to their sport because Ben Cousins did not ever play their sport and their heads are too far up their arses to see anything anyway.
            Now, I am NOT saying that AFL and NRL players ARE involved. In fact, everyone is denying their players are involved because they have not heard anything. I am just pointing out the attitudes of the sports based on past experiences.
            Okay. There are two issues here. The first, and most serious, is the fact that some of our athletes are clearly taking drugs. Not for sports enhancement, but most likely as a party drug. (That is a guess on my part, but the nature of the drug and its timing seems to indicate that is the case.) While what people do in their own homes is none of my business, the fact is that they know in Australia, for better or worse, sports people are held up as amongst our greatest rôle models. The fact is that I know of some children who so look up to their favourite AFL stars that they already talk about the tattoos they are going to get, the alcohol they want to drink and the way they think they can act like an arrogant arsehole in public because the player does the same. These are 12-15 year olds, by the way, not 8 year olds. And so you throw a party drug into the mix and these kids without the physical conditioning and huge support mechanisms these players have are going to crash and burn.
            The second issue is more insidious. These are allegations. It comes from a preliminary report. And yet it is splashed on the newspapers, online and everything (yes, I’m doing it here as well) as a fait accompli that it is 100% accurate. So the media is once again playing judge, jury and executioner. They already dominate sport to a ridiculous degree, and now they are going to be deciding the fate of players? Because to read the articles, that is what it seems like.
            While I do not mind the globalisation of the media – especially when you have a country like Australia that has a government determined to censor what we read, see and hear – the power this gives the media is now out of proportion. And it frightens me. I don’t want to see trial by media become the norm. I don’t want to see populist public opinion become legislation. And I don’t want to see special interest groups being loud and noisy and dominating what should otherwise be a decent, serious debate about real issues affecting real people.
            I fear, however, that I am too late.

Bizarre fact: There are only 46 States of the USA. Four are actually Commonwealths (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia).

And that’s the View through to October 25, 2010.

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