Embracing a 1997 proposal to eliminate ugliness from public spaces in time for the 2000 Olympics, RealTime columnist Vivienne Inch proposed sport take a good look at itself.


Tee Off with Vivienne Inch

Teeing off with Councillor Sam Witheridge at the Kogarah course this week, I was effusive in my praise for his magnificent solution for bringing our embarrassingly untidy city up to par for the 2000 Olympics. The Councillor will be seeking support at the Local Government Association conference in October for all councils to impose fines up to $10,000 for illegal postering on public buildings. Brilliant! We need more ideas like this. I suggested that Sam have a yarn to Olympics Minister Michael Knight who is, of course, desperate for a revenue grabber to offset the miserable sales of his corporate boxes. The “Green Games” concept is clearly an albatross. What about the “Tidy Games?” It’s so Australian. I can’t wait for them to move from ugly posters to ugly corporate logos, ugly merchandise and, inevitably, ugly sports. Weightlifting, for instance, seem to attract a short-arsed, hairy sort of a person, sprinters are all skin and bone and have no dress sense; rowers go red; swimmers get wet; the marathon is a disgusting display of human indignity. Let’s face it, only golfers know how to show off a range of co-ordinated sportswear while remaining viciously competitive.

RT20, Aug-Sept 1997, p42

Cricket season, late 1997, finds RealTime sports columnist Jack Rufus maddened by a strange linguistic condition afflicting Australian cricket captain Mark “Tubby” Taylor.


Tooth and Claw with Jack Rufus

As I said, sportspeople speak their own peculiar version of English. And, like I said, the oddities they use when speaking to the media tend to replicate, until all sports people employ the same strange, mouldy expressions. Language, like a virus? More like a fungus in this case.

For some years now, the leading figure in sport-speak has been Australian cricket captain Mark “Tubby” Taylor. As he holds the most important post in the nation, that’s only natural. Tubby long ago popularised the trick of talking about himself in the third person, then moved on to splitting himself in two. “I have to concentrate on Mark Taylor the captain and Mark Taylor the opening bat,” he is fond of telling interviewers.

Now he regularly inserts “as I said” into his monologues, even when he hasn’t actually said anything. Following his lead, sporting personalities across the land begin their interviews with “Like I said,” with no-one bothering to ask what it is they actually think they’ve said. And frankly, the two Jack Rufuses are getting pretty sick of this nonsense. Like we said, if it doesn’t stop soon, Jack Rufus 1 and 2 might just march over to their TV sets and put their boots, as we didn’t say, straight through their screens.

Tooth and Claw with Jack Rufus, RT 22, December 1997-January 1998, p 43