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Monday, September 12, 2011

How about a little humility?

Is it just me or is Julia Gillard's response to the High Court decision to essentially disallow Australia's attempt to bypass international treaty obligations with respect to refugees, a case of do it my way or I take my ball and go home. A quick caucus meeting yesterday to to enable the Prime Minister vow to fight on against this decision, making necessary changes to the law.

What a good idea.

Let's start applying that more widely across the board. Come the NRL grand final, if someone dislikes a call by the ref, let's hold things up, have a vote and change the rules according to whatever the team in the lead wants them to be. Same thing with tennis. Don't like the linesperson's call, then lets have a quick meeting to change the rules to move the line according to whatever the person holding serve at the time wants it to be. It's about that silly.

At the end of the day, the Australian government is trying to take a position that we should not have to abide by our international treaty obligations at all, at the same time that we expect others to. Sorry Julia, sweetheart - we can't have our cake and eat it too! Talk about colossal arrogance.

Speaking of tennis, how appalling was Serena Williams's outburst in the womens' final of the US Open? After initially boasting that she was going to cruise to a win in the final, once things weren't going her way, she became an absolute harridan. She was quite rightly docked a point for intentional hindrance for yelling as her opponent, Sam Stoser, was playing a shot. Sorry, Serena, the rules say you can't do that. But, oh no, Ms Williams decides that the rules don't apply to her. She abused hell out of the umpire, over and over, not letting go throughout the remainder of the game, using every opportunity to have another go, finally refusing to shake her hand at the end of the match.

The response from officials was to fine Williams a paltry $2,000 US. Big deal. That makes a huge dent into her total winnings of $1.4 million from the tournament, doesn't it. Back in 2009, Williams was fined some $80,000 for abusive outbursts and placed on probation. Remembering that she hardly plays any tournaments now, deeming anything less than a grand slam tournament as beneath her these days, that probation should have hardly taken hold. But in reality, officialdom has shied away from daring to take the next and quite appropriate step - that of acting on her breach of probation and giving her a ban for a while. Not for a period of time, but for a set number of major tournaments. Make it hurt. Make her realise that the rest of the tennis world is not subservient to her wishes. Nope, officialdom wimps out with not even a slap on the wrist.

Making things even worse was the crowd reaction. On the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon (how easily people forget the latter), the crowd was always going to be behind the hometown 'hero'. But after Williams's pathetic display, the crowd got on her side even more, hooting and shouting at Stoser. What an equally pathetic response by the crowd.

Stoser won, as it happens, conducting herself with dignity throughout despite the obvious provocation and I think it clear that not just the better player on the day won, but also the better person.

What a pity that when coaching her at tennis, Serena's father didn't coach her in a little humility and humanity at the same time. Perhaps he could have coached Julie Gillard in a little of it at the same time.

1 comment:

Satima Flavell said...

What a good idea - send Julia and Serena back to school!