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The Lawyer

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

If a team of Martian anthropologists ever wanted to study the habits of middle-aged and middle class white men, they could do a lot worse than observing corporate hospitality at an Australian sporting event. These shin-digs are like socio-cultural time capsules, and last night’s Legends Room function for the All Blacks-Wallabies game at ANZ Stadium in Sydney was a fine example.

Corporate boxes show us what the world would be like if it were exactly how wealthy white sporting enthusiasts wanted it — which is, of course, not entirely unlike how the world actually is. Women are barely present, except for the occasional second wife or pushy middle manager. Ethnic minorities exist only in servitude. Red wine flows like an angry, flooded river; food is simple, meaty and fast. This is a world where jokes never get old, and where sport, not politics or religion or gravity, take its rightful place as the central organising force of the universe.

It was here I encountered a man of such abject and unrelenting ridiculousness that no radio play could possibly do him justice — but I can only try. I shall call him Lawyer. He was on our table, and sat directly behind me once we took our seats in the stand.

Through the course of 80 minutes of rugby, he sledged for 78 of them. Nasty, incoherent, unfunny sledging, revolving around the following meta-themes:

  1. The referee, a South African, is eager to secure a favourable roster at next year’s World Cup and was therefore favoring the All Blacks because the head of the international referee panel is a New Zealander.
  2. Richie McCaw ought to be imprisoned due to his constant and flagrant infringing; the only reason that this doesn’t happen is (refer to 1).
  3. All ethnic stereotypes are essentially accurate, especially when applied to the All Blacks who only remain competitive because (refer to 1)
  4. Homosexuals are surprisingly well represented among New Zealand’s rugby elite
  5. Despite what you may think, New Zealand’s relatively poor performance in international cricket has an immense bearing on proceedings.

Other themes were less explicitly addressed, most notably:

  • I am a miserable, self-loathing alcoholic

It is not good form to counter-sledge a fellow guest on a corporate table so we resisted the Lawyer’s provocation admirably. Until, that is, the All Blacks had secured the most unconvincing kind of victory, winning by a solitary point. It was then my brother decided to collect his dues.

Corporate box hubbub, clinking and laughing, murmurs of disappointment, a touch of mourning.

BRO: So, how does if feel to watch your team lose a game in such a humiliating fashion?
LAW: What do you mean?
BRO: Well, you never should have lost that. We were shit, but we still won. I can only imagine how humiliating that must be, for you and everyone like you.
LAW: What’s your point?
BRO:
Humiliation is the point. Not to mention the inalterable fact that the All Blacks have beaten you on ten consecutive occasions. Do your ruddy cheeks burn with shame, or is that just too much grog and high cholesterol?
LAW: No at all. I mean…

Smug guffaws

LAW:  Do you know how many one-dayers the Kiwis have lost to Australia?
BRO: One-dayers? Are you talking about cricket?
LAW: Yes, of course! How many one-day defeats?
BRO: What? I don’t even follow cricket. It’s completely irrelevant.
LAW: Ha! See, you guys can’t face it!
BRO: Face what exactly?
LAW: NZ’s shameful cricket record.
BRO: I am talking about the rugby we have just finished watching. during which time we listened to you rant and rave  without pause for 80 minutes —
like an insane person.

LAW: What’s your point?

BRO: Take the pain, man.
LAW: What pain? I mean, what about the netball? The hockey! The Commonwealth medal tally! The better climate and greater resource wealth! Our comfortable lead on the alphabetical list of nation-states!
BRO: You are in denial. Just learn to live with the pain.
LAW: What pain? How many World Cups have you won?
BRO: What?
LAW: How many?
BRO: Well, we all know the answer to that — but it’s not even vaguely relevant. The point is you squandered an unbeatable lead to crash to your TENTH CONSECUTIVE LOSS.
LAW: Why are you avoiding the question?
BRO: What question?
LAW: About the World Cups! We have won twice as many World Cups as you. Why won’t you admit it?
BRO: The Wallabies will never improve unless you face up to your own weaknesses and stop clinging to past victories.
LAW: What’s your point?
BRO: The point is, the Wallabies are shit.
LAW: I know you are, but what am I?
BRO: Are you for real?
LAW: I can’t hear you!
BRO: Are you sure that you’re not a fictional creation; more archetype than anything else?
LAW: Sorry, I have to go to the loo. Still can’t hear you!
BRO: If you’re just going to the loo, why have you put your coat on?
LAW: I can’t hear you!
BRO: And why are you calling a cab?
LAW: Lalalalalalalala!
BRO: You bring shame to your people.

THE END

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  1. Shane Mac
    September 13, 2010 at 19:01

    witnessed this first hand in the national media – a week I spent in Oz a few years back the Sydney Morning Herald was all over the underperforming all blacks – you couldn;t move for full-colour foregone conclusion stories stopping just short of mockery.
    They then got done. On a VERY light news weekend and I shit you not, Monday’s sports front (back) page boasted “Under 16 swim team triumphs in Argentina”. Buried deep was a hundred euphemistic words or so cheating refs. Truly beautiful.

  2. September 14, 2010 at 12:27

    I also found a number of Australians very keen to talk about the Warriors, the cricket, the netball and past RWCs… more amusing than frustrating really. Still, how many times have we been the best team one year out from a Cup (http://backin15.blogspot.com/2006/11/best-team-one-year-out.html)?

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