Sex, Drugs…and Sport?!
If you’re stuck in the time warp where sex and drugs were the prerogative of rockstars and writers seeking inspiration in Bohemian cafes, snap out of it, pronto.
The term ‘role model’ is on its way out- for the world is losing the squeaky clean personalities that you could point to for their agonising saintliness faster than the ozone layer. While depravity was considered to have set in long ago in cinema and music, and lifestyles were openly criticised and condemned, sport has been relatively slow in making inroads into the world of the celebrated and the doomed. Of late, though, incidents have occurred aplenty to reinforce the notion that money corrupts- or what we popularly like to believe.
Every major sporting tournament is normally followed by a whiplash of accusations. Insults fly, murky waters rise above acceptable levels and formerly deified people find themselves ground under the heels of autocratic revenge-seekers. It isn’t as if either party has a clean sheet to display; it is just the timing of such incidents that calls their authenticity into question.
Sex scandals have hit sport in an extremely hard way. Tiger Woods had the most infamous fall from grace in recent history, his various sexual encounters coming as a huge shock to people around the world who’d been viewing him as the epitome of class and sophistication- elements which golf does demand, to a certain extent, elite game that it is- and the taint refuses to leave him in peace as he is still searching for a win since his comeback in
Football has more or less followed down the same lane, the numerous scandals involving English players and this week, French footballers, placing things in a very ugly light. Doping was, until not too long ago, the biggest menace to sport, but things have rapidly changed. Considering the tremendous reach of sports, particularly among young people, it is imperative that sportspersons should maintain a clean image. The intense amount of scrutiny they face day in, day out, thanks to the pervasive nature of modern media, doesn’t make things easy- but that is just one of the several onerous trappings of sport and money.
Scandals of this sort almost make regular skirmishes in the heat of battle sound ridiculous. Betting and accepting money in return for information seem absurdly normal. You could almost laugh at the people who heatedly debate if players who don’t choose to walk when they’re out are ruining the reputation of cricket. More such discussions would perhaps mark a gradual return to faith and competition. I am quite glad of the discussion on whether Alberto Contador should have waited for Andy Shleck while the latter was putting his own chain in order- the arguments for gentlemanly behaviour in sport are refreshing.
Sportspersons should return to traditional follies. Tackle your opponents, by all means- claw them and hurt them, crash into their cars deliberately and obstruct them, kick their ankles and pretend you know nothing about it, watch them cringe in pain and walk by coldly- all this can be almost excused as behaviour natural to the heat of the moment, it can even be an effective indicator of your passion and patriotism. We’ll wean you off those transgressions by and by. But do, for now, try and stay away from drugs and underage prostitutes. The purpose of sport is the thrill of competition- for other things, we have the movies.