News Richard CraillRichard Craill February 18, 2019 (Comments off) (2)

COLUMN: Does the cup of positive stuff runneth over?

IMAGINE, just for a moment, you work at Cricket Australia’s head office. What emotions would you be feeling this morning?

WORDS: Richard Craill IMAGES: Bathurst 12 Hour

You could be excused for having mixed feelings about life given the tumult that has engulfed the game for the last twelve months.

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”

– George Carlin, Legendary Comedian / Actor and was in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure which is unquestionably one of the best movies of all time.

The true Cricket fans, of course, will be sad the summer is over; knowing their fix from now until October will be late nights huddled around the TV, watching an inevitable rain delay at a quaint English venue somewhere, far away.

Certainly, if you work in their social media department you’ll be thrilled that the local season is just about done in the hope that the twitter abuse will, hopefully, die down. Those higher up will be relieved they scraped through with good crowds and, despite the big-dollar but high-risk TV deal, strong ratings.

Pitch curators, meanwhile, will be glad they can have six months without someone asking about the health of ‘their deck’ (which in New Zealand can often create serious issues with public decency).

So there would be mixed emotions, though a lot of it would stem from whether you see the glass as half full or half empty.

The internet, a place that isn’t so much half empty as it is the Sahara in a drought, would have you believe it is The End of Days.

Three of Australia’s best players were banned for tampering with a ball, bringing the game into disrepute and sending the vicious, gnashing media into a frenzy. Then the team was comprehensively trolley’d by the Indians and only beat Sri Lanka because they are comprehensively rubbish. No one watched the One Day series because it was only shown on Fox Sports and The Big Bash league saw a significant decline in average attendances and an increase in average apathy because of the extended season.

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties

Harry S Truman, Competent US president.

And we’re going to get smashed in the World Cup and, by the way, have no hope in the Ashes either.

Of course, when one pours from the glass of Australia’s cricketing summer at some point it’s got to tip over that etched line half way up the glass, surely?

Which is why discovering the hero worship that exists for Patty Cummins will be an endearing memory of this summer; as will the fighting, gritty style in which the re-building team earned respect from much of the public and the media. And the Big Bash ended with a pair of downright thriller games, remains the second-highest attended sport in Australia and for the umpteenth year in a row utterly destroyed every other piece of programming on television, barring the odd game of tennis or two. Oh, and over two million attended the game in person for just the second time in history; despite predictions of doom that people would turn off from the game thanks to the new TV deal, the cheating, the lack of form, the extended BBL summer and Donald Trump, probably.

For fans of sport – and not just Cricket, because this truly applies elsewhere – this summer was a lesson in how the narrative crafted by the media, the broadcasters and social media can shape the broader public’s interaction with any given game.

While many dutifully smashed Cricket Australia for what seemed to be an ‘overlong’ Big Bash tournament, the enduring memory of the competition will be the remarkable final, played in front of 40,000 people, that saw
Eddie McGuire’s the Stars crash from a position of near-invincibility to a 13-run loss to cross-town rivals the Renegades in remarkable fashion.

“I never look at the glass as half empty of half full. I look to see who is pouring the water and deal with them.”

– Mark Cuban, Famous American for some reason. Think he owns an NBA team. Never pour him water.

It was as dramatic, as meaningful and as exciting as any final of any major league sport in the world. As it rightfully deserved to be. Certainly, it was more entertaining than the Superbowl.

FOX Sports’ test match coverage did wonders for the public appeal of the Australian Test side, thanks to their uninterrupted broadcasting of Tim Paine’s banter behind the stumps, and Cricket Australia’s superb decision to allow them access to more areas of the game than ever shown on the tube here.

So while even the person whom enjoys a glass brimming to the rim with positivism and enlightenment has real reason to critique and delve into the game’s issues, there is an argument to be had that the sport ends the summer in a better place than where it started it.

If you’ve made it this far into the story, you’re probably wondering now how and why this story about Cricket is being published on a site dedicated to Motorsport.

That, however, is the point: It’s all really the same thing.

“I see the glass half full.. of poison.”

– Woody Allen, Actor / Director and apparently most of the internet.

Motorsport is as guilty as any sport in the world for talking down what we do. In the end, the only thing that differs from racing cars to footy to cricket and soccer is the actual end product. Most of the stuff that happens off the playing field – or race track – tends to be the same.

People complain about the quality of the sport, the broadcast deal, the price of tickets and food at the venue, the domination of one team over another and any and all the scandals, dramas and stupid things that happen over the course of the season.

Administrators clash on the way the sport is being run, sponsors come and go and TV broadcasters do their very best to shape the product to suit their needs. And so it goes.

Typically, not enough time or space is given to the heroic performances – the equivalent of a Patty Cummins catch or a Dan Christian six – that are what truly shape our game.

One of the greatest things about 2019 is that we have been blessed already with a race that gave us so much more opportunity to offer acclaim than acrimony; Bathurst’s 12-hour was a blinder and full of heroes and villans and pantomime performances that are what make cars going racing so bloody good.

In the same way that Cricket fans were left with a warm, fuzzy feeling in their tummy after yesterday’s Big Bash final, so too were fans of motorsport after the Bathurst 12 Hour.

“There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! Who’s been pinching my beer?”

– Terry Pratchett, Genius author and me on most nights at the local.

I suppose the message here is that it’s always better to react to the good stuff than the bad. Discuss (rationally, if at all possible) the negatives for they are what lead to improvement and growth.

We’re not advocating blind ignorance of the issues; quite the opposite in fact. We don’t live in an ‘Everything is Awesome’ world and things can definitely be better.

The message here though is that we need to take more time to celebrate the positives and revel in the things that make sport – any sport – truly great.

If we do that, the proverbial glass will remain on the right side of half full and we’ll all have a better time drinking from it.

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