No, this is not another post about Nick Kyrgios.
Rather, it’s hopefully another conversation starter about the greater issue of sledging – or, as Urban Dictionary puts it, “mental disintergration”.
Most international teams partake in sledging. Sledging can be merely an opposition player talking constantly to the opposition. It can also often backfire, as Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath knows only too well:
- Glenn McGrath: “Oi Brandes why are you so fat?”
- Eddo Brandes: “Because every time I shag your wife she gives me a biscuit”
Recent events suggest sledging is now also common in tennis. Just don’t expect Roger Federer to use such a tactic – he’s far too classy.
It got me thinking… How prevalent is sledging in Canberra’s amateur sports scene?
I mean, I get that football players can get caught up in the heat of the moment, given the physicality of the sport. Even cricketers can get a little hot under the collar with a bowler hurling a ball towards their head at 160km per hour.
It’s also happening in junior sport, and I cite a recent post on social media by a concerned parent as an example.
So, junior football in Canberra… I found out this afternoon that one of the opposition teams players was issuing threats of violence on social media to one of my players after our first round match. Today, one of their players decided to spit on one of our players because he was “being dissed”.
We often hear about bad parents at local junior sport games. You know, the ones who yell obscenities at opposing players and parents as if their under 15’s game in Tuggeranong is the Word Cup final. This sort of behaviour has been well documented.
But what about the junior players themselves? Surely we don’t have kids playing in local soccer, AFL, league or union comps sledging at the tender age of 15 or 16 (or heaven forbid even younger)?
The occasional bit of bad language or telling a player off in the heat of the moment? Sure. But premeditated and deliberate sledging?
I hate to think at junior level this is going on. And if it is … then I guess then recent behaviour of international sporting stars becomes less palatable. After all, kids will always want to emulate their soccer, tennis or football idols.
Marcus Paul is the host of Canberra Live 3pm weekdays on 2CC.