Sport in Australia: 'worth a shout'

Publisher:
Routledge
Publication Type:
Chapter
Citation:
Australian Sport: Antipodean Waves of Change, 2011, 1st, pp. 1 - 5
Issue Date:
2011-01
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Australia's sporting success and dominance across a number of sports has been attributed to a variety of factors, including: inheritance of the British sport ethic in the early years of white settlement and colonization; dominance of a masculine and competitive culture; a paucity of cultural alternatives; a temperate climate; and availability of open spaces'> Whatever the explanation, the centrality of sport to the Australian psyche has been a subject that has fascinated both sport studies scholars and a small number of academics from other disciplines. For example, the social commentator Donald Home, writing in The Lucky Country, in the 1960s, believed that, 'sport to many Australians is life and the rest is a shadow. Sport has been the one national institution that has had no knockers. To many it is considered a sign of degeneracy not to be interested in it. To play sport, or watch others play and to read and talk about it is to uphold the nation and build its character:3 Despite such populist observations, it is germane to question whether or not this preoccupation with sport is unique to Australia. Furthermore, is the nation really a haven for an unquestioning, sport-crazed populous that obsessively hold sporting victories above all else, irrespective of sportspersonship and ethical responsibility? Richard Cashman, writing some 30 years after Home, in Paradise of Sport, legitimately questions if this scenario was ever really the case and, if so, has the trend continued?
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