Pet Peeves (Day 6 of 30)

Just caught my dog licking the wall. What the hell.

Also, hell Happy Birthday wishes to Felix, who turns a great big 28 today! Such a big boy! 😛

So! Pet peeves!

Earlier today, I checked what I was meant to be writing about today, as I am wont to do. “Pet peeves!” I lamented to Tim, “I don’t hate anything ever, I don’t have any pet peeves.” Har har har, yeah. But before I despaired TOO much of being so amazingly positive that I love everything, Tim brought my attention to an article. And so, as I, again, am wont to do, I’m going to change the parameters of the entry a little and just get up on my soapbox and rant about this particular thing. Which also happens to relate to a pet peeve of mine. See! Relevant.

Anyway, the articles of which I speak is here. Make sure you check out the youTube video as well as reading what she has to say on the matter.

Now, of course, for those of you with slow-ternet or who are otherwise too lazy or uninterested to click the link, I’ll give you a quick run down. Apparently there was some sort of bicycling race recently, I don’t know. Tour de something? Italy Luxembourg? Oh, France. Tour de France. Apparently some sort of Australian won it or something. Good job, guy. That’s all well and good. I don’t really go in for the whole sporting thing, so forgive me if I’m a little low on the details. But take great note of this, because it explains one reason why I’m so pissed about this issue.

Anyway, this Australian wins, and everyone loses their shit. Loses their ape shit. People are talking about public holidays and shit, calling him a HERO. So this lady, whom we shall refer to as Mia, because that is her name, gets up on TV and says, “Guys, I don’t get it. That’s pretty impressive and all, but let’s reserve hero status for the people who really deserve it, like doctors, firefighters and social workers, who do really hard jobs everyday with little to no thanks. Let’s not call a dude who rode a bike real fast with the help of a support team and sponsors and millions of dollars a fucking hero, yeah?”

That’s basically what she said. I might’ve paraphrased it, but that is genuinely what she said. And you know, that is a sentiment I can get behind. I was talking about my Mum the other day, yeah? She ruined her only human body looking after people who literally cannot look after themselves, and I can’t count the number of times she came home ridiculously upset because these people she was helping had just totally fucking abused her. That she went back there day after day, that is fucking heroic.

Anyway, minutes after this happened, and it is, to my understanding still going even now, Mia received completely disproportionate amounts of shit and abuse from people who disagreed with this, her opinion. Quoting from her article she has been called “dog, a bitch, unAustralian, a stupid, ignorant fool, told I should lose my job, fuck off and shut the hell up, go back to writing about lipstick……and that is not even the worst of it.”

All this, merely from her suggestion that perhaps we’re putting too much emphasis on sportspeople. Which is quantifiably true. So this leads me to the pet peeve I was eventually getting around to and that is, Australia’s emphasis on sport. The amount of abuse this woman received because she didn’t agree that because this man won a race, that we should devoted entire pages to him in newspapers and have public holidays and things. Mia went to a lot of trouble not to disparage his achievement, and I want to do the same. I’m not saying that what he did isn’t amazing, there’s no way I could do it. Hell, I don’t even own a bike, I probably couldn’t make it down the street without needing a break. So good on him, we are all very proud, and I mean that with sincerity.

The repulsive thing is the dichotomy between sport and every other hobby, interest and lifestyle in Australia. Growing up, I can’t count the number of times I felt like a pariah because I didn’t have a sport. A sport. A sport that I identified with and was identified by. “Oh, she plays basketball. She plays tennis. Jess? Oh, she plays… ah, Jess?” I was made to feel like a second-class citizen because I read books, listened to music, wrote stories, played instruments and was otherwise athletically challenged. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are amazing athletes, and it’s great that they found a sport that they enjoyed and practiced and competed in. Sarah and Liz are incredible hockey players and ice-skaters, competing on state and national levels. I just hate that I couldn’t be equally accepted in my pursuits because there wasn’t a timer running or a score count.

I became ashamed of things I liked to do. I started to question who I was and tried to fit myself into a cookie-cutter image. “Pfft, books! Naw, I don’t read those. I, uh, kick ’em. That’s right. Into goals. That’s what I do.”

But this isn’t about me. This is about the people who do damn hard things, they do damn hard things on their own, they do them to benefit other people, and they do them for little reward. Doctors get paid well, right? It’s still absolute pittance compared to professional athletes. And what about the people that don’t get paid well? Coming back to my Mum again, she did all this back-breaking labour and she wasn’t paid that well. She wasn’t paid minimum wage, but she sure wasn’t paid in six-figures.

What about teachers? The people responsible for the education of the next generation. It seems like Australia doesn’t understand how important that is. We are talking about the next doctors and firefighters and yes, professional athletes. But there has to be some support for the people who spend more time nuturing and encouraging, or discouraging as the case may be, your children than their parents do. If teachers lose interest in their pupils, who is going to take an interest? I agree that children should have role models to look up to, like Mr. Evans who won the Tour de France. But is it right that more accolades should be given to them than to the ones who are trying to better mankind? The answer is absolutely, unquestioningly, no. What kind of role model is that? “Hey kids! Do you wanna help other people for pittance, or be loved, respected and rich as a professional athlete?” Bit of a no brainer, really.

Finally, what baffles me is the complete lack of understanding in this case. The uproar in response to Mia’s opinion. The absolute outrage, the fury. “What? No! You are WRONG.” We weren’t even going for the, I dunno, “ultimate definition of hero in the world’s final dictionary” placement. It was just one lady and her opinion, regardless of right or wrong (spoiler warning: it was right). You don’t hear anyone saying, “Huh, I’d never thought about it like that. I don’t agree, but it’s an interesting position.” All you hear is the screams of a thousand footy hooligans calling her a bitch and telling her she’s wrong. The way that none of these abuse-hurlers have taken the time to consider that opinion, critically analyse it, and decide one’s own opinion based on new facts. Nope, they are too busy defending the honour of a guy who gets paid millions to ride a bike, doesn’t give a shit either way, and actually lives in Switzerland. Oh, and whose honour was never under attack, by the way.

Anyway, I’m going to leave it there. As usual, I didn’t get all the points out that were banging around in my head, but it was definitely cathartic to get some of this bile out.

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Externalised memory priestess from the elemental plane of pink. I hyperbolise every second of the day. On Twitter here.

3 thoughts on “Pet Peeves (Day 6 of 30)”

  1. As you know, I agree on all fronts! I felt the same thing growing up, and I was unreasonably happy when physical education was no longer a mandatory class in my final years of high school and I didn’t have to be looked down on for not giving a shit about sport. Obviously again, sport as a physical and community activity has its benefits but shit, surely there are more important things to be throwing government funding, private funding, media attention and celebrity-worship towards? Anybody who seriously claims a sportsperson objectively contributes more positively towards society than a fucking ER doctor needs to get their head examined.

  2. Totally and utterly agree with you Jess. Also how great is your mum? Like seriously? She’s awesome! It always makes me feel bad knowing the hardships she went though with her last job and I barely know her that well. THAT’S cause she is just so nice.
    Anyway, err enough about your mum I guess.

    I also wanted to specifically make a point about how much I’m enjoying this bloggin’ series you got going on. Wicked awesome to read and I’m sure you must be enjoying it too. You’re a word sorceress. It makes for the best stories and your diplomacy is through the roof!

  3. First of all, I completely agree. As someone from a sporting family whose father would bend over backwards to watch me play a game of school hockey but didn’t come to my special church membership service, which I specifically asked him to attend, because he chose to sleep instead…I think most sports people are far too revered in Australia. Not to mention the praise is disproportional and so flip-floppy…if sports people do badly they get slagged off by fans and media alike and as soon as they’re doing well everyone jumps on the bandwagon again…well everyone but those with enough intelligence to not be so easily manipulated by media and mob-frenzies. I admit that many sports people do use their celebrity to do good for charitites and they do commit and aweful lot of their time and energy to being the best in their field, but to be valued simply due to your athletic ability feels like darwinism to me.

    Anyway…your mum is great! I can only hope that I can be one of those underappreciated people who makes a little bit of a difference to other people’s lives.

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