From the outset I should make it clear that I’m not a fan of comedian Dave Hughes in any way, shape or form.
His grating voice and lame sense of humour obviously appeal to many, but not me.
But Hughes’ comments on Channel 10′s ‘Before The Game‘ on May 28 were the most sensible that I’ve ever heard from him.
Shortly after two St. Kilda players had been taken to hospital after sickening injuries in their game against Fremantle at Subiaco Oval, Hughes remarked that if players pulled out of a contest, commentators labelled them as soft, yet if they didn’t pull out, then they often ended up in hospital.
Just two weeks after Collingwood’s Alan Toovey suffered serious injuries after showing “incredible bravery” against Geelong, Hughes’ remarks were well timed. It’s a fair comment, and one that would undoubtedly have had mothers of footballers all over the country nodding their heads and applauding in unison.
It raises the question of what is brave, and what is actually just plain stupid. Football shows and radio talk-back has been filled with discussions on this topic ever since, and as expected, the so-called experts all agreed with the former. It’s doubtful the players’ families would have been so forthright in their views.
There’s no doubting that the players are brave and that in most instances they’d do anything for the sake of their club, but they also need to be smart enough to know that their livelihood and, to a lesser extent, the success of their team, could hinge on what many would refer to as a moment of madness.
Take, for example, St. Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt, a player who has made his name because of dozens of ‘selfless’ acts where he has thrown himself into packs, running with the flight of the ball, with gay abandon. It can be spectacular to watch and it gets the commentators on the edge of their seats, but eventually Riewoldt’s luck has to run out.
Surely there’s only so many times you can do that without coming off second best and finishing the game in a hospital bed. Then what does that do for the team?
If such an act has the big blonde Saint sidelined for several weeks, then his act of selflessness becomes an act of stupidity, especially if it costs the team wins and possible finals appearances.
Nothing will change because white line fever is a hard ailment to cure, but it’s worth remembering the big picture, rather than just the brave act that could secure your team possession of the ball.
Peter Whitten is a consistent contributor for rallysportmag.com.au and now blogs on whatever goes through his mind at peterwhitten.wordpress.com .