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With Cricket Australia forcing the resignation of coach Darren Lehmann, perhaps we should view this week’s outrage as the dawn of a new sensibility.
The matter that doesn’t matter, but seems to matter very much rolls on, with Australian coach Darren Lehmann set to stand down in the dusk of the Smith ball tampering issue. With Cricket Australia seriously considering twelve-month bans for both their Captain and his First Mate, it seems the line in the sand has finally been drawn.
Two-time Ashes winning coach @darren_lehmann to step down as the Australian cricket coach in the next 24 hours, over a year earlier than originally planned.
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) 26 March 2018
With the trio set to be cast out of the sunburnt Eden of our good graces, there’s been a lot of legitimate discussion about the skewed Australian value system, and why we let everything else slide, except the actions of three men named Boof, Smudge and David. The response has been obvious to even the most comatose among us. I’ve heard the hyperbolic term “the darkest chapter” as often as I’ve witnessed fielded the parental complaint from taking heads, wondering why no-one has thought of the children. And it’s Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, the complaint is legitimate, or that is to say, it can be. If Cricket Australia is drawing the moral line, I suggest we all do similarly. If there’s one thing we can do, it’s complain. Tweets, subtweets, comment boxes, placards, ironic shirts are testaments to our ability to raise issues through a raised voice.
However, prior to a piece of sticky tape attached to a ball, our complaint was fragmental and subject to bias. The magnitude of the complaint was measured against those who yelled it. Those who demonstrated against Manus Island were unwashed left-tards, those who marched to reclaim Australia were tone-deaf racists. We attack the people raising the issue, not the issue itself. It’s probably why nothing really gets solved down here, and why we keep having the same arguments.
In this frame of mind, Steve Smith cupcaking the national psyche was a godsend. It was the Sidney Nolan reimagining of Michelangelo’s Creation of Man. We were touched by a higher consciousness. Suddenly, criticism was pure, binary. Right and wrong was not only clear, but agreed upon. There was no Cameron Bancroft crisis actor false flag truthers. Smith did the wrong thing, but we also did the wrong thing by caring so much. This week has been a discussion of what our unison values are, and why we care so much about cricket, and so little for everything else. There has been very little partisanship, just fractile cases of disappointment in ourselves, or in those who represent us. It’s been kind of beautiful. Take it from someone who is forever cursed to eke meaning from the daily squabbles we participate in on a daily basis, this flavour of collective sadness is rather unique.
What it presents us with, is an opportunity. If we take Steve’s damaged balls to heart, we can theoretically use our vituperative scorn for the next issue that matters. We’ll just transport our disgust from the corridor of uncertainty to the corridors of power. A damaged ball, and our response to it is our new basement. The absolute minimum of what we’ll tolerate. If we can hold a 25-year-old athlete in contempt for possession of sticky tape, we can certainly do the same for actual issues that actually matter.
Failing that, we should get the Cricket Australia board to run parliament.