A Weekend in Sport

The weekend just gone was a sportslover’s paradise with any number of events and incidents to appreciate and grow from. Here are a few from just three sports that crossed my mind.


Tennis: What a performance from Simona Halep as her almost flawless play firstly dismantled and then demolished Serena Williams in their Wimbledon final. I doubt anyone saw that coming. But I thought that Halep was equally high class in her post-match demeanour and comments as she displayed a nuanced pride in her achievement balanced with admirable humility, and gratitude to those who helped her get to that point. To her credit, Williams showed quite some grace in conceding that she lost to a better player on the day and didn’t look for excuses for her own uncharacteristically wooden effort. The contrast with several previous episodes, think US Open final, was both marked and welcome.


The men’s final almost defies description and bears comparison only with the extraordinary Federer/Nadal final of a decade ago. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer (and Rafael Nadal in the semi-final) displayed skill, beauty, athleticism, competitiveness, respect for the game, respect for one’s opponent, etc etc that lifts tennis, sport generally, and our appreciation of its true champions to great heights. This ‘old brigade’ demonstrated why they are still a class above the rest, and why they have to keep playing even though none of them is getting any younger. Again, the contrast with the brats and wannabes couldn’t be more marked.


Cricket: Can you believe how the World Cup final played out? No Hollywood script with all its contrived improbables could have come up with this outcome. Although the game was not without its controversies, England won according to the rules as they were set out and applied on the day. (Ben Stokes, you have nothing to feel bad about or apologise for. Others interpreted and applied the rules.) You have to feel for New Zealand who were not beaten on the scoreboard but did not win. No doubt we’ll hear a lot more about the rules and their interpretations and there will likely be changes for future tournaments. And sad as it is that there had to be a team that came second, let’s appreciate the outrageous experience of the match and pay our respects to the players involved.


Football: We experienced the highs, lows and all points in between in the various footy codes.  In rugby league, Cameron Smith became the first player to feature in 400 NRL matches, a remarkable achievement given the intense body contact and physicality of the code and his playing position in the very middle of all of it. And he’s a good guy to boot! I appreciated that there were photos of Cam along with AFL 400-gamers Kevin Bartlett, Michael Tuck, Dustin Fletcher and Brent Harvey – appropriate recognition of this rare collection of players.


At the other end of the scale, we had a rare send-off in rugby league (for an alleged spear tackle) and further apparent deliberate physical interference with a player in the Port Power v Brisbane Lions game. Not a good look in either case. In the modern setting, there’s simply no place for these types of episodes in any sport at any level. We’ll hear more about these as the week progresses.


And, in between, we saw a few simple lessons applied to show that even the more fancied teams have to be there and up for the contest if they realistically hope to win. In the AFL, Port Power, coming off a commanding Showdown win last weekend, seemed to think that all they had to do was roll up at Adelaide Oval to beat the undermanned Brisbane Lions who had never won there previously. How well did that turn out? Similarly, in the NRL, Sydney Roosters, both defending premiers and one of this year’s premiership favourites, perhaps underestimated their more modestly performed and undermanned opponents, North Queensland Cowboys, and came off second best.


A theme or two: 

The notion of respect can never be understated or undervalued – in sport or in life. In sport, at the very least, it’s respect for the game (and its traditions, rules and regulations), one’s opponent (regardless of their apparent capabilities, record or person), and the sporting public (who will find you out all too quickly). Show respect and respect will be shown. Draw your own comparisons with life.


The game is never over until it’s over. Ask the Kiwis, ask Roger.


There’s a fine line between winning and losing. One of my pet themes, I know, but never better demonstrated than over the weekend.



Let’s hear about other weekend sporting specials that you observed or experienced which you consider worthy of mention.



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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au

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