When The Mighty Fall/ Fail

Through my usual beat of baseball rumination, I want to address a central issue of sport that has bugged me for a long time – how we respond when the mighty fall/ fail. So, firstly, an update on the Red Sox.


After one of the most complete seasons ever by a team in the majors, the Sox have kicked off 2019 in a less than spectacular fashion. A long road trip of three series saw the miserly return of just 2 wins. Once the glitz of World Series rings and pennant presentations was out of the way, their first outing at Fenway was another less than glitzy defeat. Many scribes are canvassing the options on how this particular mighty team has fallen with repeated failures in the early part of the season. Selection policy and the way Spring Training was handled are the two most common entrails picked over but there are many more, as one can imagine, for such a high profile team. I haven’t really formulated my own theory yet. Suffice to say, I’m somewhat flummoxed and hoping for better days ahead. But one response I have had is a feeling of  the days of beer and skittles inevitably come to an end and it is how we cope that really matters.


Last night, two major stories broke on social media in relation to high profile sportsmen. I am a rugby tragic who is fully aware of the impact Israel Folau has had on the game over the last decade. I’m also a boxing fan who has enjoyed watching Anthony Mundine in that time, and before as well. Their controversial forays into the public realm were not particularly controversial in my mind. Folau’s religious zealotry is a fundamental part of his being, more so than his rugby prowess for anyone who has taken the time to notice. Equally, Mundine has a long history of making statements that clearly have not been through his PR handlers. These most recent entries into their checkered timelines are no more noteworthy than a host of other examples. They are consistent in a way many other high profile people actively choose not to be as hypocrisy and flip-flopping are more trade-able currencies in the bubble they inhabit.


While I find the essence of the ideas Folau and Mundine espouse to be personally repugnant, I do not find them so as people. In fact, I admire both of them for their track record of civic duty. I know many look up to both of them and will want them to continue to be involved in public life. I believe we should find ways to build bridges to them and others who fall outside our conventional realm of acceptability. Intolerance and idiocy can be called out without us losing our common humanity. We do this by staving off bloodlust and calls for retribution for every indiscretion. The mighty do fall. They do fail. So do we all.


As for the Red Sox ……….. come on fellas, I don’t mind if this year is to be a write-off but for Christ’s sake just stick it up the Yankees!!!!!



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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. Well said Brian. I have been thinking about this ‘issue’ all day – as I received notice this morning that it will be a significant discussion point on Offsiders on Sunday. You have helped me think further. I have been trying to find ways of discussing the various elements of the situation which pays respect to all parties and the issue’s complexity – and also how to discuss human rights alongside personal belief. I won’t be relying on mainstream sports media to inform me.

  2. Brian The Ruminator says

    Thanks JTH. We need new discourse in so many realms of life. Sport can lead the way.

  3. Enjoyed your article Brian. As a fellow Redsox man, I can’t believe the team will keep on misfiring. Obviously the pitchers need to lift their game. Hopefully we’ll soon see DUSTIN PEDRIORA back at second base. I too enjoy seeing the Yankees (Wankies) lose. I suspect they have won more than their share over the years.

    As far as boxing goes, I cannot get interested in that “sport” or wrestling either.

  4. For me, Folau’s was the “worse” transgression – content aside. Being an active player in a World Cup year who was warned by his employers not so long ago over a similar incident smacks of arrogance (as difficult as that is to square against Izzy’s persona and other laudible off-field actions.

    Thanks for pronpting the discussion, Brian.

  5. E.regnans says

    Hi Brian – people are strange, aren’t they? (Aren’t we?)

    Whenever a team/ player loses a game, you can guarantee an outpouring of scorn.
    The Red Sox win – their supporters are happy.
    The Red Sox lose – their supporters are not happy.
    It seems that social media allows these voices (which were probably always there), to reach many people.

    I feel for the Little Jennys of the world (all of us?) https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/a-portrait-of-the-supporter-as-a-young-woman/

    I’m not across any recent social media storm at all – so I cannot comment on this example.
    Suffice to say that I am frequently astounded that people interact online with such certainty, such conviction.
    It is probably not really interaction. Moreso flag-waving, or banner-waving. Look at me.

    “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire

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