Henman shoots fan

From the Telegraph

From the Telegraph

With the highest death-rate of any sport, you’d think it was dangerous enough without cheating. But some adrenalin-junkies just don’t know where the line is, do they? Yes, the high-profile, high-stakes world of Lawn Bowls was rocked (or rolled) last week by allegations of match-fixing. I can’t really back up the ‘death-rate’ thing, by the way. It’s just something my grandfather (a keen bowler into his 80s) suggested to me while telling me about friends who shuffled off this mortal coil as they shuffled onto the green. But the match-fixing scandal is very real. The New Zealand national team has been accused of deliberately losing to Thailand (rather than playing for a Thai, ba-boom.)

And this comes after a number of sex-scandals (or, specifically, ‘gender scandals’) in athletics, an apparently deliberate motor-crash in Formula One, and a rugby player going all Bella Lugosi with fake blood recently (he was no-doubt punished because if you can’t rustle up some real blood in rugby, of all games, you’re probably not fit to play at club level).

With recent news of Serena Williams threatening to kill a line judge (I swear I’m not making this up), one assumes that it is only a matter of time before Linvoy Primus punches a referee in the face and Kaka murders a nun for drug-money.

from actsport.com.au

from actsport.com.au

Personally, I am delighted by all this news. Mainly because it takes some of the heat off the world of music for a while. And while I don’t give a bunny’s bum about sport, music is something I care about. And now Eminem, Marilyn Manson, and (depending on just how out of touch the moral crusaders in your church are) Michael Jackson can breathe a sigh of relief (well, most of them can), knowing that they will not, for a while at least, be scapegoats. Sports stars will.

Whenever sporting celebrities are caught doing things they shouldn’t I am puzzled by the public reaction. If a professional tennis player tests positive for marijuana, he could be banned from competing, even though I’m pretty sure, judging by the Cheech and Chong films I’ve seen and the slow-moving stoners I’ve known, that the drug could hardly be described as ‘performance-enhancing’. The hypothetical ‘grass-specialist’ would be punished, as some in Athletics have been, for ‘setting a bad example,’ particularly to children.

The term ‘role model’ is bandied about a lot in such discussions, but I want to say that if we’re looking to people whose major achievements in life revolve around strength, stamina and coordination to be our ideals for morality, that seems a little like asking bikini models to inspire the scientific community or Jeremy Clarkson to teach us about politics. Sure, it may sometimes work, but it’s a little silly to expect it to. Not to mention unfair. Like denouncing high salaries for footballers without denouncing the salaries of executives.

The last people in the world who should buy into the ‘sportsmen and women should be good role-models for our kids’ nonsense are Christians. We know that no human but Christ is perfect, we know that all have sinned and we know that prophets and teachers of God’s truth often turn up in unexpected forms. We should be the first to explain to children that sportspeople are just people, and we should be the first to cut them some slack when they fail and fall.

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