The pressure to perform

The main news story this week has been about the Australian cricket team and the ‘ball tampering’ issue. The outcry has left me amazed. Yes, it’s cheating. Did it affect the outcome of games? Judging by the result in favour of South Africa I would have to say no. Was it the worst thing to happen in the world this week? Was it worth the public humiliation and shaming of these three men? We pay our sportsmen huge money to perform and win (and yes, I deliberately excluded women because they aren’t being paid the big dollars). The pressure to win is immense. Seemingly, the penalties for losing exceed the rewards for winning. Is that what drives a grown man to scratch a cricket ball? Even our main government sports funding program is titled ‘The Winning Edge’. You must win at all costs. But step over that fine line and you will be publicly castrated. Sent home in shame to reflect on your evil ways. How dare Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft shatter the illusion that Australian cricket is above all others. Meanwhile, in the real world, war and poverty and inequality continue to thrive. But at least Cricket Australia has made a stand!

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