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Sports sledging – all in fun, or poor form?

By Marcus Paul - 19 August 2015 8

cricket

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.

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8 Responses to
Sports sledging – all in fun, or poor form?
Garfield 1:47 pm 20 Aug 15

In longer sports – like test cricket – I can understand some light hearted banter to keep things fun when there’s a slower period of play, but a lot of what makes it into the media is downright mean spirited and is obviously targeted at undermining an opposition player. My first thought when hearing about that sort of stuff is that the perpetrator lacks class and lacks the playing skills to win the contest. Good sportsmanship should still have value.

house_husband 9:49 pm 19 Aug 15

Nilrem said :

You forgot the Shane Warne biscuit one!

And the one where when Warnie was having trouble tempting the portly Arjuna Ranatunga to come out of his crease so Healy suggested they put a Mars Bar on a good length. As others have said provided you avoid family, race, religion, etc then sledging can be a legitimate part of professional adult sport.

Manly’s Willie Mason was miked up by Foxsport last year and gave a pasting to the “soft” St George forwards. Till the rematch when they belted him 3 ways from Sunday and he knew it was payback.

As for kids my boys have played tennis, cricket, soccer and rugby league. Most kids are great but you get the odd one who goes over the line and cheats on line calls or will keep up the sledging all game. I see it as a great chance to teach my kids how to deal with what life will throw at them as adults.

That you don’t have to sit back and take constant abuse from someone and there are appropriate ways to respond and you don’t have to be a doormat.

Nilrem 4:34 pm 19 Aug 15

Holden Caulfield said :

As with many things these days the overreactions are as much of an issue as the topic at hand.

With some caveats sledging is no big deal, or it should be no big deal.

I’ve been sledged playing mid-grade indoor cricket here in Canberra. It’s kind of amusing someone would bother for what was little more than a social comp, but they did. Good luck to them. As is being hinted at it probably says more about the person dishing it out than the person on the receiving end.

Funny sledging is great and while the examples that make it into the public are few and far between here’s a few of memorable exchanges:

Javed Miandad to Merv Hughes: Merv you’re a big fat bus conductor.
[Shortly after Hughes gets the wicket of Miandad]
Hughes to Miandad: Tickets please!

Mark Waugh to James Ormond: What are you doing here, you’re too crap to play for England.
Ormond: Maybe so, but at least I’m the best player in my family.

Greg Thomas to Viv Richards: It’s red, it’s round, now ****ing hit it!
[Richards hits the next ball for six]
Richards: You know what it looks like, now go and get it!

Keep family, race, religion etc out of it and sledging shouldn’t be a major issue. When someone does cross the line the powers that be should step in and fine/suspend the offenders. Move on.

You forgot the Shane Warne biscuit one!

Grimm 2:12 pm 19 Aug 15

It’s part of almost every sport, and always has been.

What’s poor form is being an adult and not being able to deal with essentially being teased. The world is just full of sooks and sensitive little petals these days. Unfortunately they are pandered to when their feelings are hurt, rather than being told to harden up or stay home.

Holden Caulfield 12:36 pm 19 Aug 15

As with many things these days the overreactions are as much of an issue as the topic at hand.

With some caveats sledging is no big deal, or it should be no big deal.

I’ve been sledged playing mid-grade indoor cricket here in Canberra. It’s kind of amusing someone would bother for what was little more than a social comp, but they did. Good luck to them. As is being hinted at it probably says more about the person dishing it out than the person on the receiving end.

Funny sledging is great and while the examples that make it into the public are few and far between here’s a few of memorable exchanges:

Javed Miandad to Merv Hughes: Merv you’re a big fat bus conductor.
[Shortly after Hughes gets the wicket of Miandad]
Hughes to Miandad: Tickets please!

Mark Waugh to James Ormond: What are you doing here, you’re too crap to play for England.
Ormond: Maybe so, but at least I’m the best player in my family.

Greg Thomas to Viv Richards: It’s red, it’s round, now ****ing hit it!
[Richards hits the next ball for six]
Richards: You know what it looks like, now go and get it!

Keep family, race, religion etc out of it and sledging shouldn’t be a major issue. When someone does cross the line the powers that be should step in and fine/suspend the offenders. Move on.

Ezy 12:07 pm 19 Aug 15

I play Ice Hockey and it is pretty much a part of the game itself. Some of it is hilarious and will result in both sides having a giggle. If it isn’t well received, well you guys know what Ice Hockey is more known for.

zllauh 11:15 am 19 Aug 15

If you won’t respect the sport, the sport won’t respect you. In my opinion, sledging is a weapon of those who cannot do much with their own skills and talent and wants to enrage the opponent. Look at them roger federer, leo messi (except a couple of events) , Sachin tendulkar etc. These guys are legends not just because of their set of skills but their attitude as well.
Children should be taught to harness their skills rather than trash talking.

Rollersk8r 9:52 am 19 Aug 15

I was sledged throughout my sporting career, from age 12 through to 30 – in swimming, tennis, basketball, aussie rules and cricket. It happens. Much of it far worse than the Kyrgios scandal – but obviously at amateur level there’s no virtually no chance of being caught and/or punished.

In fact, I was sledged just riding my bike home from work! I was going pretty hard, just enjoying myself. I stopped at an intersection – and a couple of fellow cyclists said loudly “Gee, for a minute there I thought this guy was properly fast…. I guess not.”

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