All in all, it’s a bit worrying – this ‘sports hero’ business. What’s so heroic about working up a sweat and wearing bodysuits? (asks she who can’t).
Heroes in the old days – before political correctness caused men to slam doors in your face and expect you to pay for your own large fries at McDonald’s – used to save damsels in distress and slay the odd offensive dragon. Heroes are firemen, rescue workers and the man in the street who nonchalantly climbs a tree to bring down your cat – which was chased up there by unthinking sports heroes, pounding up and down the street in tight lycra doing their beastly training.
Sports people are doing what they love doing most. Which, in the main, is working up a sweat and wearing revealing stretchy things. If they happen to work up a sweat in a brand name stretchy thing, they get sponsored to do it. If they have wobbly bits, they get to be centrefolds. And at the end of the day, they can say they’re ‘doing it for Straya’. Good one. Like the rest of us are doing whatever we do for the sheer hell of anonymity and the key to the executive washroom. Well, hoot-a-toot-toot.
What I’d like to see is a bit of equity here. Recognition for everyone else who’s doing what they love doing most. Arts Heroes. Writing Heroes. Air time on prime time telly and sponsors for paper, canvas and those really nice fountain pens with ergonomic grips. Or how about a tickertape parade for Gardening Heroes – men who dare to weed under your grevilleas without wearing gloves. Then there are those champions of industry, Office Heroes – who bring their own biros, don’t make personal phone calls from work and go home with their bladders straining like the Hindenberg because they refuse to let it rip during production time.
When the rubber hits the road, most heroic acts have absolutely nothing to do with running tracks or swimming pools. Indeed, often heroes are right there under your nose in your very own home – purveyors of unselfish acts which give pleasure to other people in the immediate vicinity. For instance:
. Remote Control Heroes – Men who refrain from clicking over to another channel when you’re getting all excited about the outcome of a Sara Lee commercial.
. Toilet Roll Heroes – Skilled in the dying art of unwrapping a new one, putting it on the little wooden roller, removing and disposing of the old one. (Note: This is an extremely rare genus – possibly extinct, in the event it ever existed in the first place).
. Grocery Heroes – Men who come shopping with you and pick good stuff.
. Silent Heroes – Men who don’t tell you how you look when you have PMT.
. Blissfully Unaware Heroes – Men who haven’t the faintest idea you have PMT.
These types of heroes may look good in a tight lycra thingy … or they may not. Who cares? They can be a cross between Albert Steptoe and Bob Carr for all I care. I’m too old to give a hoot about wobbly bits, and the smell of sweat is only an aphrodisiac if it accompanies a man who’s just hauled 10 kilos of chocolate all the way from Belgium.
Those of us without a sporting bent don’t go on telly crying, ‘Watch me, watch me!’ as we flick our way lustfully through our exotically illustrated cookery porn and tuck into pecan Danish.
Not likely. We’re confident enough in our own ability that we can sit quietly back in our overstuffed chairs, resting our choice of literature on our overstuffed tummies – happy in the knowledge somebody else is out there, bravely and heroically ‘doing it for Straya’ …
Go, you good things! (Love your work …)