Tag Archives: Martin Flanagan

Seeking the poetry in sport

Sports columnists have a licence to thrill in their copy. The day’s action is over and sport reporters will cover nuts and bolts stuff like results, scorecards, misdemeanours and injuries. Sports colour writers don’t have to worry about such minutiae. Instead they try to tease out the poetry, life lessons or fun from the participants / events – stuff the commentators won’t necessarily have seen. It’s these journalists, writers such as Martin Flanagan and Greg Baum, that keep me reading the sports pages.*

Cricket fans will know that the Australian team’s left arm tyro , Mitchell Johnson, had a tough tour of England this winter, partly because his mum and girlfriend appeared to indulge in a spot of mud-wrestling in the women’s trash mags. Here’s a passage on Johnson from Peter Roebuck in The Age that made me smile:

Misgivings had been held about the pace attack. After all, Ben Hilfenhaus had not proven his worth on firmer Australian pitches, Peter Siddle was coming back from injury and Mitchell Johnson had been spelled for a fortnight, a risky manoeuvre because his arms and legs become estranged when on holiday…

What a great image.

And here’s a profile of footballer Jimmy Bartel from Michael Gleeson in The Age that does exactly what it should do – make you feel like you understand a character better. Great stuff. It made me a Bartel fan even though I don’t support the Cats.

*BTW, yesterday’s Age contained a lift-out on the world religious parliament taking place in Melbourne this week. Inside the lift-out, in a truly Melbourne juxtaposition of faiths, were the sports pages.