The other day I got a lift home from a fellow dad and enjoyed our chat. What thrilled me was to hear someone else offer the same sentiments that I was feeling about the Adam Goode’s “booing” controversy. In my opinion, what has been lost in the conversation is the notion of being a “good sport” both as players and also as spectators. To me, not only has the treatment of Adam Goodes been based in racism (I love Charlie Pickering’s take on this – see www.abc.net.au), but those that have been aggressively and incessantly booing are displaying the worst of our sporting nations character and are nothing more than bullies. I am disappointed in the likes of Shane Warne, who has commented that booing is ok and a part of sport. Have I missed something here? While we all may get angry at an umpire for a bad call, or a professional foul, I never thought that the constant booing of a player game after game was to be tollerated in sport.
I have played a lot of sport, and have coached my children in cricket and soccer. Part of my role as a dad, and as coach, is to teach the skills of the sport, and to teach the kids how to behave in a sporting arena. To shake hands and congratulate the opposition on a good game no matter who wins, to honour the decision of the referee, and for the spectators (in this case mostly mums and dads) to support fair play and cheer on the players to do their best, and acknowlege the achivements of players even if on the opposition. There is no place for booing. It’s not being a “good sport”. As father, it is not only important that I help my children understand the racism in this instance, but that this type of behaviour is not acceptable for spectators of sport.