SUMMER SPORTS

Motocross has its critics. Some say it’s too noisy. Others don’t like the dust or the mud. Some don’t like the tracks or the facilities. Well, over the summer with no racing on, I got a chance to check out some other sports and see what they have to offer, some at the venue, others just on TV and, all things considered, I don’t think we’re doing too bad.

Cricket: Yep, I went to The Gabba in Brisbane to check out the last and greatest domestic cricket has to offer: the T20 Big Bash. I had the option to go watch a test match, but five days of that — I’d rather punch myself on the knob.

So, me and about 25,000 of my best mates went to check out the cricket. Well, you did see the cricket if you didn’t want to eat or drink because the line at the tuckshop was longer than at an Australian Idol audition. Then when I got to the front I figured they must have charged me rent for standing on council property because there’s no way on earth a day-old pie nuked to 1000 degrees and a XXXX Gold comes to $15 in my book. I justified it by calling it five bucks for the food and $10 for a standing fee.

Then what cricket I did see was broken up by the DJ pumping out tunes between overs. But, just like commercial FM radio, this guy must have only had five songs as he kept playing them over and over and over again. Next time I go, I might just back the Hi-Ace up and put my stereo on random; at least then a few more songs might get aired.

Then, all 25,000 of my mates left at once. Middle of summer, sweating like a slave and 25,000 sweaty people are shoulder to shoulder in a concrete grandstand trying to wriggle their way out. Don’t get that at motocross tracks, my friends.

Tennis: Look, any person who can hit a ball at 200km/h over a net and do it until the wee hours of the morning deserves respect. I didn’t say $2.3 million, but I can appreciate the skill and work that goes into it. But when two women start to grunt and groan with each and every shot like they’re chopping down a 1000-year-old oak with a plastic knife, well, that gets me angry.

I can’t believe the Melbourne public actually paid for their tickets to go watch Trisha Gruntmore and Ivana Screamalot, or whatever their names were, slaughter the game of tennis with the mating call of a walrus. They moaned and screamed with every shot, drop shots included. These screams of tennis joy racked up 100dB — that’s louder than the ambient noise at nearly every motocross track in Australia. Girls, stop grunting and you might have enough energy to run around the court and play five sets.

Soccer: Or is it football? Let’s just call it the A-League because no one in Australia really knows what to call it. Like most kids, I played a lot of soccer when I was young but I don’t recall being taught to take dives, complain about every decision, root my team mates when they score or have my family set off flares. In fact, I’m sure it’s not in the coaching manual but it is everywhere in soccer regardless of where the game is played.

My solution is simple: if you take a dive then you’re out of the game because injured players can’t play. If you complain about a decision you have to run five laps around the field — that’s what used to happen back in my soccer days. The goals are to be made 30cm higher and 30cm wider so we actually see some goals scored and, if a team scores, the opposition can grab the ball from the net and restart play in the centre as soon as they like. That would soon stop some skinny guy with crazy hair running to the side of the field, taking his shirt off and trying to dry hump the corner post as part of his post-goal celebration. Celebrate the win, not what you’re supposed to do, pal!

Iron Man: Now those dudes are gnarly. But how can anyone get satisfaction out of running, swimming and walking around in budgie smugglers all day in front of thousands of people? Not to mention the funky little cap they wear. But two things always get me with Iron Man events.

1. If the TV crew or the crowd sees a hot girl strutting down the beach, no one really cares about the event, do they? All eyes are on her until she’s out of camera range and then the camera man runs the zoom for about 20km up the beach like he’s trying to get a shot of the moon to follow her. Then all focus is lost on the race because you can never tell the athletes apart when they’re in the water.

2. When I was last down at my beach, some chubby guy with a well-formed verandah was manning the area — not some Greek Adonis with abs that could get meat and the V02 max of an entire football team. Just how representative of surf life-saving are these Iron Men? If the average clubbie is like the Iron Man, then the Australian dirtbike community is a nation of Chad Reeds.