Each morning our newsroom gathers to set the day’s agenda. Part of the process involves what we call the breakfast table discussion – what we’re talking about at home.
When discussion turned to the antics of high-profile, highly strung tennis players Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, you could feel the temperature rise.
Most of the heat was from those in the majority, who decried Tomic’s post match interview in which he said he was bored on the court and couldn’t find the motivation to be bothered playing. Inevitably, Kyrgios’s courtside temper tantrums also crept into the conversation.
What sort of message were these two self-entitled young men, who ought to be at the top of their game, sending to those coming up through the ranks behind them? Were they telling young fans it was acceptable to behave like pratts? Or worse, encouraging them to quit when the going gets tough or flame out in puerile rage?
One voice of dissent suggested the pressure they were under accounted for their wobbles.
Sorry, we don’t buy it. Borrowing the words of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, life wasn’t meant to be easy – especially if you’re aiming for the top. Leading your field in sport is as much, if not more, about your state of mind as it is about your athleticism. If you don’t have the strength of mind, probably best you take up some other pursuit.
And that applies beyond sport as well.
The whole world has been watching aghast the antics of Donald Trump who takes to Twitter like an affronted schoolboy every time he feels slighted and refuses to view the world from anything but his own narrow perspective.
Curiously, when we asked ourselves whether we could think of any female sports people who’d lost the plot quite as spectacularly as Tomic and Kyrgios, we could only come up with Serena Williams, who went nuts at an umpire in 2009. Oh, and in the 1990s, ice skater Tonya Harding, who was banned for life for her alleged involvement in an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan – but that’s in a whole different league.
So, the blokes are way out in front when it comes to poor sportsmanship and being brittle in the face of adversity.
We accept it’s a tough gig being an elite athlete or world leader. For that reason alone, some of the blokes in that league need to toughen – and grow – up.