The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Caffeine, fast food and a lackadaisical mood: a blow-by-blow of a boring day

with 9 comments

Today’s The Dissemination of Thought piece is the result of an unusual combination of writer’s block, laziness and a simple yet incredibly amusing blog post I read last week. More specifically, it was this piece from Miranda Ryan of The Naked Envelope fame.

The concept is simple. It’s a blow-by-blow account of how she spent a day in her life. Nothing overly exciting happened to her on during the 24-hour period but it was fascinating to see how someone can make the seemingly mundane entertaining by just looking closely and taking notice of what goes on around them.

This is what happens when you mix three espressos and an energy drink before 9:00am…

I’ve decided to follow suit. I want to be able to sit back and reflect on how much time I actually waste in a normal day. Hopefully, you’ll find my minute-by-minute account of June 25, 2012 at least slightly engrossing.

Yes, I draw in my diary at news meetings when I should be paying attention.

6:21am – Open my eyes and try to figure out what day it is. When I determine it’s Monday, I contemplate staying in bed all day and wonder whether I’ll be missed in the newsroom.

6:22am – Ask myself why it’s so dark. Fumble aimlessly for my BlackBerry, check the time and realise it’s stupidly early. Throw aforementioned device back on the bedside table and curse my stupid body clock.

6:23am to 7:18am – I have no idea. I can only assume I drifted back to sleep or was abducted by aliens.

7:19am – Check BlackBerry again and die a little bit inside when it dawns on me that I’ve got less than 60 seconds before my alarm goes off.

7:34am to 7:45am – Mentally check off possible jobs I’d enjoy in lieu of being a journalist while having a shower. Hot shower tester is high on the list, as are professional bed warmer and drunken, disgruntled novelist. Notice I need to buy more body wash.

7:51am – Realise I had an 11-minute shower and consider the negative impact on the environment.

8:03am – Walk into the newsroom with my first latte of the day and loudly sing the first lines of ‘Peace Train’ after confirming I am alone.

8:06am – Stare at a blank page in my diary. Consider the benefits of being more organised. Reassure myself that organised people aren’t any happier than me and continue to drink my latte.

8:21am – Start writing a story about golf and stop to check Twitter.

8:28am – Close the internet browser and tell myself I have to avoid social media and get my work done. Pat myself on the back for being so assertive.

8:30am – Check Twitter on my BlackBerry. Quietly swear to myself about social networking and its addictive qualities.

8:31am – Notice my latte is gone. Think about writing a piece investigating the electronic heroin that is Twitter as I wait patiently for the espresso machine to provide me with another caffeine hit.

8:32am to 10:02am – This period of time is a little bit hazy because I forgot I was compiling a blow-by-blow account of my day. Judging by the number of empty cups in my bin, I had another latte. Judging by the random doodling in my diary, I wasn’t paying attention in the news meeting. Again.

10:31am to 11:06am – Interview a 12-year-old tennis player who is the number one seed in his club’s A grade competition. Watch him serve and feel ridiculously inadequate about my ability with a racquet.

11:19am to 12:48pm – Do boring journalist stuff. This includes checking emails, adding finishing touches to the doodle from the news meeting and contemplating what to have for lunch.

1:37pm – Send my final story for Tuesday’s paper to the sub-editor. Mentally fist pump the sky and refocus on what’s on the lunch menu.

1:39pm – Decide on something healthy for lunch.

1:44pm – Find myself placing my lunch order at Red Rooster.

2:03pm – Finish off the last of the chips and congratulate myself on a fantastic choice. Almost burst out laughing when reflecting on the fact I was contemplating a healthy option.

2:11pm to 2:28pm – Have a hot chocolate while sending witty text messages and wonder why there are so many boring people on Twitter.

2:31pm – Check my latest mobile phone bill.

2:34pm – Try to figure out how the hell it’s physically possible to send more than 5200 text messages during a one-month billing period. Send a text message to a friend asking them how many they send. Quietly thank the mobile phone gods that my plan includes unlimited SMS.

2:47pm to 5:03pm – Do a few interviews and complete the sports stories for Wednesday’s paper while scoffing Turkish delight and drinking another latte. Wish I bought more than one Turkish delight as I stare sadly at the empty wrapper on my desk.

5:04pm to 6:10pm – Forget once again that I am meant to be documenting every minute of my day.

6:16pm – Excitedly throw my leave application at the editor as I scurry from the building.

6:41pm to 7:03pm – Eat dinner and drink the best part of a bottle of red wine while contemplating the universe.

7:06pm – Decide opening another bottle of wine would be a poor option.

7:07pm – See no issue with having a beer in lieu of wine.

7:49pm – Put the three empty beer bottles on the coffee table beside me into the bin.

8:01pm to 8:39pm – Type up my hastily-scribbled notes and wonder who the hell will make it to 12:00pm without wanting to bang their head against a wall.

8:41pm to 8:43pm – Try to figure out why <i>The Dissemination of Thought</i> hasn’t had a new subscriber in more than a fortnight. Was about to blame WordPress for a technical glitch but then remember what I am actually blogging about.

8:44pm – Feel genuinely sorry for my subscribers.

8:49pm – Realise the intricate filing system on my laptop is nothing of the sort. Contemplate doing something about it but dismiss the notion as requiring too much effort.

9:16pm to 10:34pm – Listen to Blunderbuss for what feels like the sixth thousandth time. Wish I was Jack White.

10.37pm – Check my bank balance and wonder why they don’t advertise for ‘people who like being poor’ when seeking journalists. Make the executive decision not to go near eBay and bid on things I don’t need until I get paid.

10:45pm to 11:03pm – Have a shower while thinking about the awesome left-handed bass I want to buy on eBay.

11:05pm – Realise my excess water usage is probably destroying the planet.

11:09pm to 11:32pm – Bid on stuff I don’t need with money I don’t have on eBay. Judge an original Rubik’s Cube from the 80s – still in the original packaging – to be worth $40.

11:33pm – Decide $40 probably isn’t enough to win me the colourful little piece of nostalgia.

11:35pm – Grab another beer and ask myself why I’m bidding on a Rubik’s Cube. Secretly hope I get outbid in the closing stages of the auction.

11:41pm – Increase my maximum bid to $45.

11:44pm – Go to Google to try and figure out what a mint condition Rubik’s Cube from the 1980s is worth.

11:59pm – Post this piece and realise I’ve wasted a day. Look at the time and realise I’m tired beyond belief. Laugh manically when I remember I have Tuesday off, unlike many of my reader who will waste 10 minutes reading this post in its entirety.

So there you have it. A day – or what I can remember of it – in the life of me. If you haven’t abandoned reading mid-sentence or thrown your iPad against the wall in a fit of enraged boredom, follow me on Twitter or like the Facebook page. Hell, if you really liked the nonsensical gibberish that is The Dissemination of Thought, you can do both. Or send cash.

Opinions and ink

with 15 comments

For a change, I don’t have much to say. I’ve spent my day off avoiding words and opting instead to draw. It was ridiculously refreshing not to have to think about sentences and conveying a nonsensical message.

I’m getting a tattoo – my second – when I head back to Brisbane in September and have come up with a rough concept I’d like to share with you. Obviously, the tattoo artist will work their magic in coming up with the final design, but I wanted the opinion of my readers about the original scribbling.

So, what’s the verdict? Do you have ink? If you do, what and where? If you don’t have any tattoos and find the mere thought of them repulsive, why?

Written by disseminatedthought

June 19, 2012 at 21:17

Five things I’ve learnt about Twitter: Observations of a fully-functional Twit

with 7 comments

I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to Twitter.

Since begrudgingly signing up six months ago with the intention of only using it for intelligent, professional purposes, my tweets have descended into random thoughts and occasional nonsensical ramblings.  Damn it. I’ve become one of them.

At any rate, let me share with you five things I’ve learnt about the 140-character marvel of social networking.

Source: socialmediatoday.com

1. A hashtag can never be too long  

Let’s face it. Hashtags are cool. They are the 21st century equivalent of a one-liner and there’s no message or thought they can’t convey effectively. However, unlike the one-liner, which is renowned for being easy to comprehend, the hashtag has developed into a beast of unfathomable proportions. Apparently, it’s okay to use a 122-character hashtag that takes people 17 minutes to decipher.

Got a question about accommodation at a New York hotel? Use a #howmuchisyourdeluxesuitefortwonightsincludingbreakfast hashtag.

Planning a big night out and want your followers to know about it? Whip out #iamgoingtogethammeredtonightanditsgoingtobefreakinepic and set the tone for 13 hours of drunken tweeting from the depths of clubbing hell.

Would it be inappropriate to create a #fivethingsivelearntabouttwitterthatidliketosharewithyoutoday hashtag when I post the link to this article on Twitter?

2. Sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough

Okay, I’m going to say this slowly. The whole purpose of Twitter is to send short, succinct messages no longer than 140 characters in length.

If you need to include any reference that your tweet is the first in a series that make up a full message you are doing it wrong.

140 characters maximum. Got it? Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

3. Twitter can make you feel like one of the popular people 

One of the big attractions of Twitter is that you can follow celebrities, sporting stars and people a hell of a lot more interesting than you are.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides of Twitter is that you can follow celebrities, sporting stars and people a hell of a lot more interesting that you are, and users go nuts replying to these people in the hope that Johnny Depp will respond to their message or Lady Gaga will give them a retweet to her 25 million followers.

I know it happens because I’ve been guilty of doing it myself. Ricky Gervais didn’t retweet something I found witty and Seth MacFarlane broke my heart when he didn’t find my concept for a new animated series amusing.

I thought this was amusing. Seth MacFarlane didn’t. That bastard better not steal my idea. Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

4. People will tweet about anything

People, Twitter isn’t Facebook. Tweets are meant to be – as far as I’m concerned, at least – informative or entertaining. Telling the social networking universe you are late for your bus or eating an apple is neither informative nor entertaining.

Contemplating unleashing a tweet about how blue the sky is today? Please cancel your Twitter account. Right now.

Not happy with your latte? Go and get another one instead of tweeting about it. Source: globalberdy.com

5. Inane sentences to no one in particular are the norm

Twitter had provided a virtual worldwide audience to users. Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of the aforementioned users have decided that means they can tweet boring, obvious sentences to no one in particular.

The referees don’t agree with you. Source: Twitter via @BuzzRothfield.

If these people’s 140-character revelations were amusing it would be a different story, but they aren’t. They’re dull and generic. Actually, they kind of make me wish I’d never started using Twitter in the first place.

To the person who tweeted Did you see that? #wow: Who the hell were to talking to and what was the Twitterverse meant to notice? If you were referring to your nonsensical tweet, I saw it. We all did and are now stupider because of it.

The odds of the person who this is directed at actually reading it are $1081. Source: Twitter via @bazarazzi.

Now that I’ve enlightened you about my Twitducation and bagged the hell out of Twitter, I’m going to whore myself out to the masses and suggest you all follow me at @LyndonKeane. If you prefer the Facebook touch, The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page can be found here.

Why a lack of loyalty will sink sport

with 8 comments

Should on-field loyalty for a club be greater than that shown by its supporters?

That is, should players be more loyal to the team colours because, put simply, they are the heart and public face of the club?

I wrote a column in Each Way Bet a few weeks ago discussing loyalty to your team from the perspective of a supporter, and whether it was acceptable to have a ‘back-up ‘ team.

You know, the team you turn to when your favourite team – the one you would allegedly support come hell or high water – goes through a rough patch.

The feedback I received was interesting.

Opinion was split on whether it was okay to have a second – or even third – team in the event of poor performance.

Surprisingly, the responses were more cut and dry when posed the question to players about loyalty.

I asked seven amateur sportspeople – both male and female from a variety of sports – and was told in six out of seven instances that they would consider jumping ship if their team went for a sustained period without victory.

Ladies and gentlemen, the SS Loyalty has left port.

There is no future in amateur sport if players abandon their clubs and, more importantly, their teammates like rats from a sinking ship every time the team goes through a losing streak. Source: news.com.au

Aren’t two of the biggest drawcards of amateur sport the social aspect and the opportunity to compete side-to-side with your friends, through good and bad?

Aren’t those aspects somewhat removed if you are prepared to move to a different team the moment you experience a string of losses?

More importantly, are we that obsessed with winning that we are prepared to abandon our teammates – often mid-season – in the pursuit of victory?

Based on the evidence at hand, apparently we are.

I ran into a well-known sporting identity at Buchanan Park on Saturday and after the sixth race had finished, got onto the subject of loyalty.

This sportsperson has had a pretty average season personally and their team is struggling for form, which is the polar opposite of last season, when it won the grand final in its respective division.

As we discussed form and turning the season around, I was surprised to learn they were attempting to change teams because “they were sick of losing each week”.

“We did so well last year but we can’t take a trick this season,” they said.

“I want to be a part of a winning team; I’m better than losing week after week.”

When I questioned their loyalty to the team and how they could contemplate ditching their teammates after the premiership season, I was advised it was all about winning.

“I play to win,” they told me with just a hint of venom in their voice.

“If I can’t win with them, I’ll find another club.”

Puzzled by this apparent lack of loyalty and ‘fair weather sailing’ approach, I asked a friend of mine in Brisbane – who plays the same sport as the aforementioned individual – what they would do.

“No one wants to play on a losing team,” he told me.

“What’s the point of playing if you aren’t winning?”

So, that’s the attitude we are taking into our amateur sport these days?

The belief that if we aren’t winning, it’s not worth competing?

Let’s consider that for a moment.

If the only important thing in amateur sport was winning, you would have one or two strong teams with dozens of players clambering to sign up, while the other clubs in the competition would be struggling for numbers.

Without numbers you can’t participate, so some clubs would be forced to pull stumps.

With fewer teams, the quality of the competition would dilute to the point you had nothing but one-sided score lines week after week, which would make more and more players on the losing sides go and play somewhere else.

More clubs would fold.

Eventually, you would only have two teams going head-to-head each week, which isn’t really a sporting contest.

That’s why we need loyalty on the sporting field: to see us through the tough times and ensure that our respective sports have a future.

You won’t always win.

Sometimes, victories will be few and far between, but it’s how you stay committed to your club colours and teammates that makes winning even sweeter when your team does experience it again.

The true test of someone’s depth of character on the paddock – or on the court, track or water – is how they react when the chips are down and they are staring defeat in the face.

Deserting your teammates like a rat on a sinking ship makes you a poor sport, irrespective of how skilled you.

Ask any coach or club stalwart: they’d rather have 20 players of average ability who worked as a team and stuck together through thick and thin than 20 superstars who contemplated changing teams as soon as theirs fell behind on the scoreboard.

In amateur sport, genuine allegiance to your club is the key.

It’s something to consider the next time your team loses and you contemplate taking a cruise on the SS Loyalty.

Written by disseminatedthought

June 15, 2012 at 09:13

Five passengers to avoid in the sky: The idiot’s guide to in-flight sanity

with 23 comments

As I was booking a flight to Brisbane a few weeks ago, I started reminiscing about the hundreds of interesting unique batshit crazy individuals I’ve met during my travels over the years. Some of them have been disturbing, while others were intriguing and almost amusing in depraved way. Lamentably, the majority made life at 35,000 feet unbearable for everyone within nine rows.

In hindsight, these ‘travel terrors’ should have been easy to spot. They fell into five very distinct categories that anyone who has ever spent more than 17 minutes on an airplane could easily identify. Actually, life would be a lot simpler for travellers across the globe if airport security slapped bright identification stickers on the heads of these dipshits before they headed towards the boarding gate.

I sincerely hope this piece helps you pinpoint the people you should avoid at all costs in your travels.

Especially before you sit down beside them in seat 26B for a nine-hour flight.

Just because you’re about to be twelve kilometres above the ground doesn’t mean you won’t be surrounded by painful idiots. Source: biztravelguru.com

1. The Talker

This motor-mouthed traveller won’t shut up. Ever.

From the moment they stand behind you in the queue to board and comment about how slow the process is, to the heartbreaking instant you realise they’ve been allocated the seat beside you for the flight to Perth, this painful flyer won’t stop once to draw breath.

Even when it’s 10:48pm and you are pretending to sleep with the erroneous hope they’ll shut the hell up.

If you encounter a seasoned talker, they will monitor everything to look at in order to start pointless conversations. A glance at the in-flight entertainment guide will undoubtedly start a conversation about “young musicians these days” or why they believe a particular unknown movie didn’t deserve the four stars an unknown critic gave it.

I remember sitting beside a talker we’ll call Barry on a Qantas flight to Sydney about two years ago. Barry watched me flip through the complimentary magazine as the aircraft taxied to the runway. The moment I felt the front wheel lift off the tarmac, Barry launched into a spiel about how he flew every week and had read the magazine I had in my hand “at least a dozen times” that month. After he’d ensured I was painfully aware he was a flying veteran, he offered suggestions about which articles he thought I’d like.  That was the point I handed him the magazine and asked if he’d like to read it – in silence – for the remainder of the flight.

Ah, fun and games before reaching cruising altitude.

Tip to avoid them: Pretend to be asleep. If that doesn’t work, swallow a handful of Valium before take-off and enjoy a peaceful coma nap free from constant interruption.

2. The Screaming Child

This pint-sized traveller is more often than not accompanied by the Oblivious Parent or Ignorant Guardian and are angelic until they don’t get their own way. As soon as they hear the word no, they become possessed, shrieking miniature banshees.

The Screaming Child is easy to spot: they are small, loud and annoying.

Tip to avoid them: I’m told business class is generally free of manic munchkins, but upgrading on every flight you take is a costly solution. While frowned upon by society, the cheapest answer is to coat any Valium you have left over after going head-to-head with the Talker in sugar and tell the bellowing little one it’s a lolly. 

Author’s note: Yes, I’m probably going to hell for this tip, but at least I’ll be making the trip in blissful silence.

3. The Aviation Expert 

There is nothing this flyer doesn’t know about aircraft and avionics. While they have a basic grasp of advanced meteorology, their apparent speciality is what makes the big metal bird itself tick.

Want to know how the landing gears work? They will have the answer. Are you curious about the average cruising speed of a Boeing 737-800? The Aviation Expert has the facts and figures, and will take into account the headwind your aircraft is currently flying into when answering.

No one is certain whether this unique individual actually knows what they are talking about: they just use a hell of a lot of long, technical-sounding words and phrases. The fact the Aviation Expert answers an eleven-word question about flaps with an eight-minute diatribe puts most people off testing how knowledgeable this painful passenger actually is. One thing’s for sure: having one or two Aviation Experts on a flight does wonders for alcohol sales. 

Tip to avoid them: Tell this know-it-all you heard something making a disturbing rattling noise in the toilet. Once they go in to investigate, lock them in there for the duration of the flight with assistance from the relieved cabin crew.

Do you know what every button and switch in this cockpit does? If you ask the Aviation Expert, they do. Source: airbus.com

4. The Over-Packer

The fourth type of traveller to avoid has no concept of baggage limits. If an airlines allows passengers to have cabin bag that weighs no more than seven kilograms, you can bet your last dollar the Over-Packer will have one that tips the scales at ten or eleven kilos.

Dimensions are also not the forte of this notorious flyer. Allowed hand luggage no bigger than 48 centimetres x 34 centimetres x 23 centimetres on your flight? The Over-Packer will try to convince cabin crew their bag – which is the same size as a bar fridge – is “much smaller than it looks”.

If you board after this moron, expect to spend five minutes in the aisle with 73 other fuming passengers while the arrogant one with the capacity issues attempts to wedge their cabin bag, two laptop bags and handbag into the overhead locker.

“Yes, sir, I’m pretty sure they won’t all fit in the overhead locker.” Source: zaysmallman.blogspot.com

My most memorable encounter with an Over-Packer was on a Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Townsville.

After taking my seat in 13A nice and early, I watched my fellow passengers move awkwardly down the aisle until a woman juggling what seemed like a hundred bags stopped at my row. Putting several of the bags on the vacant seats beside me so she could stuff them one by one into the overhead bin, I watched in amazement as she packed the biggest cabin bag I’ve ever seen, an oversized handbag, what I assume was a camera bag and enough shopping bags to start her own boutique into the previously vacant space above my head. Not surprisingly, the 18 or 19 passengers waiting behind her were less amazed than I was.

Tip to avoid them: Unfortunately, avoiding this person is nigh on impossible. The best you can hope for is that their taxi gets stuck in traffic and they don’t get to the airport until you are twelve kilometres above the ground and eating your in-flight meal. If they do manage to get on the airplane, there’s always the chance they will drop one of their five bags on their head as they try to stuff them into the overhead bins

5. The Drinker

For our last pest, the airplane is nothing more than an oddly-shaped bar that operates across time zones at 35,000 feet.

There’s a fair chance they will have spent two hours before the flight at the bar getting a buzz on, and their hand will whip upwards to summon a cabin crew member as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign goes off.

The airline drinks trolley: enough to make the Drinker put their tray table up and their seat in the upright position. Source: airliners.net

On a flight from Brisbane to Hobart in 2006, I encountered the Queen of the Drinkers. About an hour into the flight, I watched as a cabin crew member confiscated an empty bottle of Scotch from the paralytic passenger. A 700mL bottle. It’s amazing what a big handbag can hide. 20 minutes later, the same – although now furious – Virgin Australia employee grabbed another, albeit full, bottle of single malt out of the passenger’s drunken mitts while loudly advising that she wouldn’t be getting it back when we landed.

While I love a good single malt, it never struck me to carry two bottles of it on a relatively short flight in case I got thirsty.

Tip to avoid them: Like the Over-Packer, the Drinker is difficult to avoid once you are in the air. If they have been drinking for long enough, there’s a good chance they’ll pass out fall asleep after they scoll their second miniature bottle of red wine. If that doesn’t happen, my best advice is to concede defeat and drink with them until their drunken antics become tolerable.

The edge that was not and toys in the cot

with 3 comments

When did a referee’s decision on the sporting field become an open invitation to criticise and offer one’s own interpretation on the ruling?

Sport and emotion go hand in hand. It’s a combination that makes the former great and loved by so many Australians.

When that passion erupts – both on and off the field – after a questionable decision, the mix is unfortunately also everything that’s wrong with sport in 2012.

Whatever happened to accepting the umpire’s decision, right or wrong, in the spirit of good sportsmanship?

Have we become so focused on winning that ‘sportsmanship’ has become a foreign term to players and fans?

Don’t get me wrong. I know as well as anyone that on-field officials stuff up.

I still remember playing in a state cricket carnival when I was 15 and being given out caught behind, even though my bat hadn’t gone within four inches of the delivery in question.

As I played the stroke and looked up, I recall being stunned at seeing Mr Magoo’s finger pointing skyward.

I knew I hadn’t hit it.

The bowler, by that stage ecstatic and running towards the slips cordon, knew I hadn’t edged it.

The smug wicketkeeper, who was as surprised as I was when the umpire’s finger went up, told me outright he knew I hadn’t hit it when he appealed.

I guess I could have stood my ground and thrown a hissy fit, but what would that have proved?

The biggest message my junior sport coaches ingrained in me was “love sport, but be a good sport”.

It’s a credo I hear coaches in Mount Isa reinforcing every weekend as they mentor and develop the sportspeople of tomorrow.

Clearly, sportsmanship still exists.

If that’s the case, why have so many people forgotten the concept of sportsmanship after they have made the transition to the senior ranks?

In my three months in Mount Isa, I’ve seen countless examples of people questioning a referee’s decision after they believe it went against them.

More often than not, the question is posed in the form of a nonsensical, vitriolic spray, after which the offender generally explains why the referee was wrong and what they can do with their whistle.

The disappearance of sportsmanship isn’t something unique to local and amateur sport.

This was most clearly evident during last week’s State of Origin opener.

Greg Inglis’ controversial 73rd-minute try was awarded by video referee Sean Hampstead, Blues supporters across the country erupted and began crying foul.

Things weren’t any better on the field.

“What is it? The arm or the leg mate? How the hell is that a try? Mate, this is out of control. This is ridiculous, where this is getting,” screamed NSW captain Paul Gallen.

In a way, Gallen was right.

Things were getting ridiculous, like the way he was acting like a petulant six-year-old whose twin brother just scored a better birthday present.

It doesn’t matter whether or not Hampstead was right or wrong in his decision.

He was a match official and his ruling was that it was a Queensland try.

Referees are people. People make mistakes.

While it’s difficult to accept, referees will occasionally make poor – or outright wrong – decisions.

How we, be it as players or spectators, react to the poor decisions make or break sport.

No one likes a bad call, especially if it changes the game, but we need to accept it will happen from time to time.

The more sport you play or watch, the odds of you being on the receiving end of a bad decision increase exponentially.

If you can’t accept that, perhaps you should distance yourself from sport altogether.

It’s okay to be passionate about your sport; in fact, it’s encouraged.

What’s not acceptable is to leave your sportsmanship in the boot of your car when you grab your kitbag before a game or event.

Be emotional on the field or from the sideline, but please leave your toys in the cot if a decision doesn’t go your way.

We have all been on the receiving end of questionable decisions by umpires and referees on the sporting field, but that doesn’t give us a free kick to abuse them. Source: anorak.co.uk

Written by disseminatedthought

June 1, 2012 at 09:36

Why a sport’s origin shouldn’t restrict its future

leave a comment »

With the opening State of Origin clash only 12 days away, I thought it was time to inject a blue and maroon theme into this column.

Should rugby league’s most revered contest be played in Melbourne, or is that tantamount to sporting sacrilege?

Most diehard Queensland and New South Wales supporters will tell you that Melbourne can “get stuffed” and keep its own football code when the subject of which cities should host the three matches is broached.

In fact, three Mount Isa rugby league fans gave almost verbatim responses this week when I posed the question about State of Origin in Melbourne.

Fan one: “You’re f—— kidding, aren’t you? They [Melbourne] already have aerial ping-pong down there; why should they get our game, too?”

Fan two: “It’s rubbish. The games are between us and New South Wales.”

Fan three: “It’s Queensland versus New South Wales. The games should be kept in those states.”

Unfortunately for the fans, the decision to play a State of Origin game in Melbourne isn’t one based on state pride.

As with all things in professional sport, the decision was based on economics.

State of Origin crowds at Suncorp Stadium are always passionate, but we can’t restrict the Queensland v New South Wales battles to just Brisbane and Sydney if the game is to grow in the 21st century. Source: couriermail.com.au

That, and the ongoing exposure and development of rugby league outside of the game’s spiritual home and holiday house in Brisbane and Sydney.

A huge – and very profitable – rugby league market is emerging in Melbourne, and the powers that be are planning taking advantage of that.

It’s incredibly unlikely the people making the decisions will be swayed by the heartfelt pleas and sky blue and maroon-tinged anti-Melbourne arguments of fans who remember the first game in 1980.

When players run onto Etihad Stadium on May 23, they will do so in front of more than 60,000 screaming fans keen to witness rugby league’s greatest spectacle.

That’s good for the sport, and good for the coffers of everyone involved.

Besides, why shouldn’t Melbourne host a game?

We can’t restrict a competition that spruiks itself as the National Rugby League to just two states, even if we are talking about a contest played between just them.

The lone Victorian-based NRL team, the Melbourne Storm, has been one of the dominant teams in the competition in the past few seasons.

They are undefeated after nine rounds in 2012.

The team’s three biggest stars – Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk – will all pull on the Maroon jersey 12 days from now, and are referred to as “our boys” by most Queenslanders.

With that in mind, isn’t it a little hypocritical to suggest Melbourne isn’t entitled to one State of Origin game each year?

Former Brisbane Bronco and Queensland player Ben Ikin is a firm believer in the fact Melbourne – and eventually, the rest of Australia – needs more exposure to the game.

In his column in the Brisbane Times this week he said, “As much as we’d like to, we can’t keep State of Origin all to ourselves.”

Ikin suggests that the first and second game in each series should be played in Brisbane and Sydney, with the third going to Melbourne, but he ventures further by saying other Australian cities should eventually host matches.

“When we determine the Melbourne rugby league market has reached its target maturation, we look for our next area of growth and send State of Origin there for however long we need to,” he said.

Ikin makes a strong point: if the game is going to continue to go from strength to strength in Australia against fierce competition from the AFL, soccer and rugby union, it can’t just be seen as the game of cockroaches and cane toads.

State of Origin is all about where the game has come from, but for it to prosper, we need to take a moment to look at where it’s heading.

This photograph of New South Wales player Terry Hill nose-to-nose with Queensland’s Gorden Tallis is one of the sport’s most iconic images, but State of Origin is now bigger than just the sky blue and maroon jerseys. Source: heraldsun.com.au

Why the A-League’s billionaires should start being sent off

with 3 comments

Another week, another opinionated column. Here’s a taste of the column I’ve written in today’s The North West Star about the current embarrassment that is professional soccer in Australia, and why the billionaires involved need to step back and take a few deep breaths.

For those who have emailed me asking why I’m writing about sport so much, the answer is simple.  I’m a sports journalist.  It’s kind of my job to write about it.  A lot. That said, many will be happy to know that I’m currently working on a few non-sporting pieces for The Dissemination of Thought.

Voting has now opened for the People’s Choice Award component of the Best Australian Blogs 2012 competition, which is run by Sydney Writers’ Centre. If you could click on the link and vote for my humble – and occasionally nonsensical – blog it would be greatly appreciated.

To keep an eye on the competition’s progress on Twitter, search for the #bestblogs2012 hashtag or follow @SydneyWriters.

————————————————–

What is going on with soccer in this country?

After Football Federation Australia stripped Clive Palmer the Gold Coast United A-League licence almost seven weeks ago, Australia’s premier round ball competition has looked like it was in a state of disarray.

When Nathan Tinkler, another mining magnate with his finger in a few sporting pies, decided he no longer wanted the Newcastle Jets licence this week, the A-League was about to experience a total meltdown.

It’s a pity, because the apparent battle of the billionaires is taking the focus off the key element of the A-League: the soccer.

The verbal stoushes between Frank Lowy, Palmer and now Tinkler are almost farcical.

Am I the only one who feels like I’m watching the sporting equivalent of a Days of Our Lives episode?

It’s almost a reality show where contestants go head-to-head in a clash of the chequebooks.

When news of Gold Coast United’s demise became public, FFA chairman Lowy said he was disappointed but that he had no alternative but to revoke the licence following Palmer’s “flagrant disregard” for A-League rules.

Never the wallflower, Palmer fired back.

“We don’t know what the charge is and Frank Lowy has behaved like a dictator. This course of action should not be allowed to stand in Australia,” Mr Palmer said.

“Frank Lowy has started this fight and we will finish it.”

The comments were almost as unbelievable when Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group handed back its licence for the Jets, albeit with the role of instigator reversed.

“Unfortunately, having lost confidence in the FFA management and its ability to find a resolution, it is clear we have no other option,”HSG chief executive officer Troy Palmer said.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley hit back by saying, “Let me make something very clear here. We have had countless meetings with Troy Palmer to address these issues.”

It’s a pitiful look for the sport.

There has been little comment from the players on how they feel about being used as pawns in what looks, at face value, like a “my wallet’s bigger than yours” contest between three of the richest men in the country.

One would have to assume that, like the fans, they’ve had enough.

Among the threats, laughable quotes and chest puffing, many have forgotten there’s still on-field action in the A-League.

It’s disappointing that the most important part of the sport has been relegated to the naughty corner like a small child, when in fact the child has done nothing wrong.

The poor cherub has been punished for the actions of its bickering parents.

Perth Glory travel to Gosford tomorrow night to challenge Central Coast Mariners for a spot in this season’s A-League grand final against Brisbane Roar.

There is some tremendous soccer talent in this country, and it’s about time we remember that.

The talent of the players needs to take centre stage again, as does the dedication of the clubs’ coaches, management teams and administration staff.

It’s time to give the fans what they actually pay for: the best soccer Australia can offer.

There are some glaringly deep issues with the way the A-League is being run, but that’s an issue for another day.

The billionaires have run out of yellow card chances: it’s time to begin sending a few egos off.

The billionaires involved in Australian soccer, including Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy, need to remember the A-League is actually about the on-field action. Source: smh.com.au

Apologies, excuses and the verbal finger

with 8 comments

It’s funny how a seemingly innocuous action – or in some cases, actions – can compel one to do something they hadn’t planned on doing.

For me, the aforementioned actions were those of the rude, irritating woman who tried to cut in front of about seven people at the supermarket this afternoon.

I hadn’t planned on writing anything on my day off, but the behaviour of the woman – let’s call her the Bitch with the Handbasket – made me question at what stage people stopped apologising altogether.

When did ludicrous excuses replace sincere apologies as a response to fucking up?

I watched the Bitch with the Handbasket creep into my peripheral vision while I was waiting to be served in the express lane. I saw her eyeball the queue and stood stunned as she nonchalantly pushed in front of me and acted as though she’d been there the entire time.

After subtlety suggesting to her that she needed to move to the back of the line, I couldn’t believe her retort: “Huh? Oh, I didn’t see you there. Is there a line?”

What the hell? What part of my handbasket-carrying, six-foot-five frame didn’t you see? Did you fail to notice the half a dozen shoppers behind me who are now scowling at you?

As I asked myself what her problem was, it dawned on me that her excuses and ignorance were representative of the attitudes of many: we’ve become a society that accepts reasons why in lieu of apologies.

People seem to have forgotten how to apologise. In the rare instances where an apology is offered, it’s seldom genuine. Somehow, offering a feeble, disingenuous explanation has been deemed socially acceptable.

It’s got to stop.

In addition to the Bitch with the Handbasket, I’ve recently witnessed first-hand another example of society’s proclivity to throw out a thinly-veiled vindication instead of an apology.

Without going into specifics, the players in question were out of line and exercised poor judgement. Whether or not a private apology has been offered to the women involved is a matter for them. All I can comment on intelligently is that publicly, the only responses from the individuals at the centre of the allegations have been excuses. Lots of excuses. A few of them have even suggested that it’s me who needs to apologise for writing the story.

How hard is it to admit that you have erred?

I’ll admit it when I screw up. When I do make a mistake, it’s usually a big one. Like when I referred to the wrong team as last season’s premiers in a recent grand final preview. Oops. I could have made excuses, but what would have been the point? I made a mistake; it was as simple as that. The newspaper ran a correction and the earth continued to turn on its axis.

An excuse is not an apology. An apology conveys regret, remorse or sorrow, while an excuse tends to indicate the person blabbering it isn’t genuinely contrite. To me, an excuse is the verbal equivalent of giving someone the finger after you’ve wronged them.

If you’ve done something you regret, show some intestinal fortitude and admit you were wrong. If you aren’t remorseful for your actions you shouldn’t feel compelled to apologise, but please don’t offer up some idiotic excuse for doing whatever it was that you did. The best excuse in the world will never trump a simple, sincere acknowledgement that you screwed up.

Source: wba.theoffside.com

I’m not going to apologise for this post because even though you’re sorry for reading it, I don’t regret writing it. As for excuses, where would you like me to start?

————————————————–

If you spend way too much time supporting Mark Zuckerberg’s lifestyle, check out and like The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page.

In other relevant blogging news, I’ve entered The Dissemination of Thought in the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition which is run by Sydney Writers’ Centre.

I will provide more information about the competition over the next few days, but voting for the People’s Choice Award opens this Friday at 5:00pm. If you like this blog as much as I think hope pray you do, please visit the competition website and cast a vote for The Dissemination of Thought.

If you’re a Twit, you can track the progress of the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition by searching with the #bestblogs2012 hashtag, or you can follow Sydney Writers’ Centre (@SydneyWriters) for updates.  To follow yours truly on Twitter, click the button below.

When will prize money be on par?

with 9 comments

Here’s a piece I wrote for my sports column in today’s The North West Star about the vast gap between prize purses in men’s and women’s sport.

————————————————–

Why is there such disparity between the prize money offered to male and female athletes?

Last year’s Australian PGA Championship offered $1,500,000 in prize money to the men who donned their funky golf outfits and battled the Hyatt Regency Coolum Course.

The winner, Greg Chalmers, pocketed $270,000 for his 12 under par victory.

In February, only $500,000 was offered in total for the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters.
Holland’s Christel Boeljon scored a one-stroke victory at the event but only received $75,000 as recompense for doing so.

Both the Hyatt Regency Coolum and Royal Pines courses are par 72.

Chalmers completed his four rounds in 276 strokes, while Boeljon went around the Gold Coast course four times in 267 strokes.

The Australian PGA Championship and Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters are this country’s ultimate golfing events for men and women respectively, yet the boys get to play for about three times the prize money.

By offering so much more for competing, are event organisers suggesting Chalmers, Robert Allenby and Adam Scott are three times better than Boeljon and other female players like Nikki Campbell and Sarah Kemp?

Of course not.

But if that’s the case, why is there such a ridiculous difference in prize money being offered for exactly the same amount of golf, based purely on whether the player sits down to pee?

The answer is advertising.

Professional sportswomen don’t get the media coverage that male athletes do. As such, they don’t have the public profile advertising executives look for when throwing money around.

Money that ends up in prize pools.

Essentially, less public recognition undoubtedly means a smaller prize purse.

Advertisers want a brand, and without increased media exposure, female athletes will never be able to become a brand.

Unless they are, to put it boorishly, hot.

Everyone knows who Tiger Woods is.

Can you name the world’s current top female golfer?

No, me either.

We have been conditioned by advertising and the media to recognise male athletes by their strength and ability with a club, a bat or a ball.

With male sporting stars, it’s all about the actual sport.

As far as our best sportswomen go, society as a whole only recognises them as exceptional athletes if they have great legs or look sensational in a beach volleyball outfit.

In a nutshell, we are told men are apparently tough and should receive maximum reward for their athletic performance, while women should, it seems, get paid peanuts for their sporting skill and rely on sex appeal to supplement their income via endorsements.

Am I the only one who finds this very 19th century?

If you are in the upper echelon of players in the country in your chosen sport, why should your ability to earn money by competing in said sport be influenced by whether you are male or female?

Tennis is beginning to come around as officials start to offer equal prize money for the guys and girls, but a lot of sports have a long way to go.

Without getting into the economics of male versus female sport and advertising, there’s an incredibly simple answer to the prize money gap: pay the girls more to play.

If they are playing the same sport as their male counterparts, why shouldn’t they be getting paid equally?

Shouldn’t it be about skill and not gender?