In an age where everyone with a keyboard and a set of fingers is a blogger, half the world seems to be calling themselves “social commentators”. This has always seemed a pretentious, self-aggrandising and above all, meaningless title.

Trickett shot… a bit of ad libbing on the gun range

Social commentary is like parenting. Most of us do it in private, but only some are vain enough to write about it publicly. Not me. I write mostly about sport for a living. You’d never catch me penning tedious social commentary. Oh, wait a minute…

The thing about sports writing these days is you spend most of your time writing about anything but sport. Look at the last week. It started with a rowing spat, and ended with the D’Arcy/Monk gun pics saga.

For what it’s worth, which is incredibly little, I consider D’Arcy and Monk complete twats. In this case, however, they were hard done by. Their early send-home from the London Olympics for a happy snap on a gun range was ridiculous AOC heavy-handedness, especially since we now know the whole swimming team once did the same thing.

Like I say, though, you don’t need me or any other trumped-up “social commentator” to tell you it was stupid. As our Punch column on Friday showed, you’re all overwhelmingly qualified to decide that for yourself.

As things stand now, I’m officially bored of Nick D’Arcy. And by the way, D’Arcy’s best time in the 200m butterfly is a full three seconds slower than Michael Phelps’s, so I’m not convinced we’ll be any more excited about him come London.

From my perspective, and I believe that of my readers, I reckon the only time a sports writer’s moralising is worth reading is when the foibles of human behaviour collide simultaneously with the onfield action. That’s what made coverage of the Sally Robbins story so engrossing, and it’s what makes the ongoing Tiger Woods story such a beauty.

Woods won an important golf tournament last week, with a shot late in the fourth round described as one of the best ever. Which is all very exciting if you like little white balls rolling into holes, but it’s a thousand times more interesting set against the background of Woods’s recovery from sheer humiliation at the hands of about a million cocktail waitresses.

Another fascinating unfolding story this week is American basketballer LeBron James. He’s the self-important tosser who starred in a one hour national TV Special in 2010 called “The Decision”, in which he announced he was leaving his old club, the Cleveland Cavaliers, for the Miami Heat.

The Decision provoked a huge debate on whether loyalty is dead in sport. So this weekend, LeBron’s Miami Heat won through to the NBA finals. That means we all get to argue whether that coveted NBA ring will actually mean anything, and we get to have that debate in real time, as the man dubbed “King James” drips his regal sweat on the parquetry floor.

When sporting action and moral dilemmas collide, boom! We’ve all got ourselves something worth reading and writing about. It’ll happen plenty of times at the London Olympics and my keyboard and I can hardly wait.

But when two 20-something dickheads play Pulp Fiction at a gun range, or when pissheads like Fevola or Todd Carney get on the turps yet again, or when a bunch of chicks turn up and play footy in their undies as they did this week, spare me.

I felt sorry for former rugby league boss David Gallop last week, and not just because of the cut-throat manner of his dismissal. For all his good works, my enduring image of the guy is him fronting up yet another press conference after some idiot had shat in a hotel hallway, or performed some similar atrocity.

Sports is nothing without narrative. Take away the back story and it’s nothing but a bunch of muscly people running or jumping or swimming around in circles. We all like to read about the people behind the athletes. But David Gallop didn’t sign up to be a frontline soldier in the morality corps, and neither did I.

Twitter: @antsharwood

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44 comments

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    • mr potato says:

      02:59pm | 11/06/12

      LeBron is a deadset legend.  He is a beast, the best.  Yep, he made a blue with the interview but had every right to leave. 

      Anyway, its not really related to your story, not sure what game you are trying to play

    • Mel Gibson says:

      03:16pm | 11/06/12

      FU@#EN JOURNO’S ALWAYS MAKING UP BULLS@#T ABOUT ME .FU@#ERS>>>>>WHA….sorry wrong blog…..

    • stephen says:

      03:38pm | 11/06/12

      Yeah, you should be on the rat page ... ‘down the hall, turn left, and watch out for the bog.’

    • JohnW says:

      03:19pm | 11/06/12

      The trouble with journalists is the narrative that they self-righteously impose upon every story that they write.

      The facts behind the D’Arcy/Monk story, together with the Libby ricket photo, make it difficult for journalists to spin the facts to fit their narrative.

      So now thay are “officially bored” with the story, and need to find some other event that can be manipulated until it aligns with their desired narrative.

      And you guys wonder why your “profession” is held in such low public esteem.

    • Launey says:

      07:20pm | 11/06/12

      I think the situation could be improved if everyone involved in sport - athletes, coaches, admin, commentators -  tried to become a little more like David Boon.

    • Joe Blow says:

      03:20pm | 11/06/12

      So it’s ok to actually be photographed firing guns during a swimming team ‘bonding session’, but you can’t be photographed just holding guns?  I get it.  I no longer give a toss about the Olympics and the holier than thou, stuck in the 1950s , AOC.

      If I was Darcy and Monk I’d quit the team as soon as my races were finished and stay on in London as ‘tourists’.

      BTW it’s a shame Darcy wasn’t a politician - then his part could have paid his legal bills and he wouldn’t have had to declare himself bankrupt.

    • BJ says:

      07:29pm | 11/06/12

      I agree that Darcy an Monk need to stay in London after the olympics. If there is one thing London needs, it would be two more Australian tossers, making complete dicks of themselves an destroying all remaining respect for Australians.

    • renold says:

      03:23pm | 11/06/12

      Just occasionally I’d like to write about actual sport….......then why dont you do it?

    • nihonin says:

      03:42pm | 11/06/12

      What….....actually write a meaningful column…...pfffffft wink

    • Little Joe says:

      06:43pm | 11/06/12

      Yeah right ..... two weeks ago he thought that there wasn’t any sport worth reporting ..... his column was about eurovision!!!

    • Neal says:

      07:15pm | 11/06/12

      @little joe - eurovision is a sport which makes Terry Wogan the greatest sports commentator in history.

    • Lucas says:

      04:49pm | 12/06/12

      Exactly, how about Rafa Nadal winning the french ipen for a record 7th time and denying Djokovic the 4 consecutive grand slams?

      Euro 2012 has kicked off and is pitting many of the sports heavyweights against eachother in a sea of colour and atmosphere.

      Hell, there was even a home and away round of your beloved AFL to watch Mr Sharwood.

      You can just write about sport - no one is forcing you to write this.

    • craig2 says:

      03:34pm | 11/06/12

      Anthony: are you telling me that you did not enjoy lingerie football? No way! Best girl on girl soft porn action ever!

    • nihonin says:

      03:44pm | 11/06/12

      It was missing something….............jelly, lots of jelly.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      03:36pm | 11/06/12

      I’d write about sport too if I could get free tickets to the lingerie football game…...

    • stephen says:

      04:37pm | 11/06/12

      Ah yes ... to come back in my next life as sunlight.

    • Martin says:

      06:10pm | 11/06/12

      Where was our fashionable Julia to promote ....in this game?

    • sigh. says:

      05:05pm | 12/06/12

      Thats not sport.

    • PJKing says:

      04:26pm | 11/06/12

      You can be the bad guy of whatever sport you participate in but if you end up the No 1 in the world all is forgiven.

    • Little Joe says:

      04:44pm | 11/06/12

      Can we get a journo whose job it is NOT to just regurgitate what is in the paper??

    • centurion48 says:

      05:51pm | 11/06/12

      Most of us did not need to know that Swimming Australia had a team bonding session at a pistol range before we assessed both Swimming Australia and the AOC as a bunch of spineless bureaucrats whose only interest in sport is their well remunerated job administering it and fronting up for the junkets. By the way, ex-athletes are usually not the best people to employ in these positions.
      I am particularly glad that the media, who all rushed into this story with the enthusiasm of hungry lions, simply ended up looking stupid. It was a non-story. It is a non-story. Both D’Arcy and Monk should lodge an appeal straight to the IOC and demand full reinstatement and an apology. They will never swim for Australia again so have nothing to lose.

    • Martin says:

      06:06pm | 11/06/12

      Just occasionally I’d like to write about actual sport….......
      when “shit happens” which our main sport under our regime of mafiacracy and the mob in charge , it is not Just occasionally but all the time that bullshit stories are in fashion.

      Can you explain to the people why “shit happens” all the time and why do we have to accept it all the time ?????

    • JR says:

      06:14pm | 11/06/12

      a target shooter myself, as a one off incident i have no problem with a couple of boys posing with guns in a USA gun shop considering the difference in gun culture astounds me, My main concern is a more pressing matter is a 3 way problem, No 1- The fact that People that use social media dont understand the full implications of their actions. ( life is full of tools),No 2-  The media the bring such social media incidents to the general mainstream knowledge in the belief that its in the publics interest to see 2 blokes acting like tools cause they can swim fast, instead of the pressing global and national issues. (it shows that proper journalism has become gossip magazine filler). Thirdly, it shows a general issue of sports adminstrators across various sectors to correctly deal with the handling of its athletes and the media over a long period of time. In effect, thier knee- jerk reactions over any negitive reporting of a member of ones associations is to throw the “bringing the sport or oneself into disrepute” line and suspend or ban them, and this in itself brings the whole trial by media and administrative ineptitude to deal with athletes being human and acting like tools in social media into a right royal 3 ring circus!!

    • pete says:

      06:14pm | 11/06/12

      “The thing about sports writing these days is you spend most of your time writing about anything but sport.”

      Oh come on.

      Surely that’s your choice. I find it hard to believe everything that happened on a ground or track over the weekend was so insignificant that you had to drag D’arcy and Monk back out one more time.

    • Haydz says:

      06:26pm | 11/06/12

      Anthony, I enjoy your columns. I think this story was timed nicely and makes a lot of sense. I see nothing wrong with it, and I dont get why all these comments are negative toward you. Keep up the good work mate.
      P.S. Im probably a bit biased because you called LeBron a tosser - something I have wanted to see in published print since “The Decision”. For the record, Sonics… er, I mean Thunder in 7 games

    • sam says:

      06:49pm | 11/06/12

      when i watch sport’s on tv i turn off the sound because i don’t need a bunch of toss-pot Journalist aka sports commentators trying to tell me what i have seen or try’n to tell me what the sports person was thinking . as for what they get up to outside of sport if its not against the law i don’t give a sports commentator about it

    • Bob_M says:

      07:13pm | 11/06/12

      Well Anthony sorry if you get pissed off because the rest of us have an opinion which doesn’t coincide with yours and we can now express that opinion on the web. What gives a journos opinion any more weight than ours? Oh and if you want to write about real sport feel free.

    • Melon says:

      07:50pm | 11/06/12

      Actually, the Tiger Woods sexual infidelity saga was a private family matter.

    • stephen says:

      09:12pm | 11/06/12

      A private family matter ?

      (What, with half the women of Tuscon ?)

    • Steve says:

      10:40pm | 11/06/12

      since he can’t get thing right ....lost touch with the birdies

    • Anti-Smart Arsey says:

      09:17pm | 11/06/12

      Am I the only person on the planet who was disgusted by D’Arcy’s wannabe gangster pose? If I got the opportunity, I’d pose with a gun. Probably Charlie’s Angels style. With a sense of humour. Not with an attitude. That’s where Tweedledum and Tweedledumber, sorry, D’Arcy and Monk went wrong.

      But D’Arcy declared himself bankrupt to avoid paying damages, and his parents - I believe daddy is a barrister? - could probably afford to pay the damages. And that decision left him wide open to Australians who don’t respect spoiled brats, and are disgusted by his behaviour, and his inclusion in the Olympic team.

      This is what is boils down to… nobody likes a smart-arse, D’Arcy, and you are proving to be an exceptionally arrogant smart-arse. Nobody will be cheering you on in London. In fact, we all hope you come stone-cold dead last.

      Hell, I’ll even barrack for the US over you.

    • Andrew says:

      10:34pm | 11/06/12

      Yeah you prietty much were, seriously who gives a F*&^what pose he decided to use. By the way his father is a doctor, but how do we know what the story is, why is it up to the father to pay the money, maybe the father told him that he needed to pay the money himself not come running to him. By the way do you know Crowley was drunk and slapped darcy first, so why hasnt he been portrayed as a dickhead. Yes darcy deserved punishment for overreacting but why hasnt crowley been made to take some responsibility for his actions.

    • M. says:

      10:50am | 12/06/12

      I don’t think you’re the only one, a lot of idiots got their panties in a twist about it besides you.

    • Andre says:

      09:48pm | 11/06/12

      If you want to write about sports; write about boxing and pacquiao getting robbed. Not d-heads

    • willg says:

      09:48pm | 11/06/12

      What a load of codswallop. All that is just an excuse so you can write Womens Weekly articles for men. just as bad as political commentators who say hey I’d like to write about policy but personality is more fun. Self justify all you like, and it may appeal to the masses, but sports journalism it aint

    • Andrew says:

      10:37pm | 11/06/12

      FFS ant, your the one writing the stories, if you dont want to write about the S*&^ you write about then why do it. If you truly want to write about sport then who the F%^& is stopping you.

    • Matt says:

      10:50pm | 11/06/12

      Did you just compare a situation involving the best athlete in the world to Nick D’Arcy? Talk about exaggeration.

    • Jack says:

      11:05pm | 11/06/12

      A guy kicks 12 goals but all you headline is some geek with a gun in his hand.

      says it all.

    • Badjack says:

      01:30am | 12/06/12

      I refer to your description of D’arcy and Monk as “twats”. When I was a teenager in the 60’s a twat was a descriptor for a woman’s genitalia. Dickheads maybe but not ...t’s

    • M says:

      07:44am | 12/06/12

      There’s photo’s of me posing with guns all over facebook, yet nobody writes a column about me.

      Sniff.

    • Fred Blogg says:

      10:26am | 12/06/12

      So here’s a picture of Trickett firing an antique flintlock with absolutely no protective eyewear, although methink there was no lead ball or wadding or there’d be evidence as a muzzle discharge

    • M says:

      10:36am | 12/06/12

      For a supposed sport writer, you’re ignoring the achievements of a lot of Aussie sport stars.

    • Utopia Boy says:

      06:02pm | 12/06/12

      Why don’t any of you journo’s have the balls to print the name, and publish the photos, of the “prominent Olympian” engaging in sexual activity with their partner?
      Much more interesting than David “get on yer horse and” Gallop, Nick “Slugger” D’Arcy or that other bloke who stacked his skateboard…..

    • OMG says:

      05:32pm | 13/06/12

      Range safety officer needs a kick up the ass for letting her shoot black powder without safety glasses.  That’s the only thing wrong with this photo.

 

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