The Ruminator

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Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Trust me, I'm stupid

I was, to my own surprise, intrigued by Shane Warne's admission last night that he has actually taken two of the banned diuretic tablets for which he has been suspended. While I admit to knowing very little about cricket (un-Australian of me I know), the whole thing raised some interesting points for me.

First was Warne's 'plead stupidity' angle. "Whether, rightly or wrongly mate, whether you hate me, you like me, you love the way I play or whatever, the facts of the matter are that I don't read much, I don't take a lot of interest in the outside world . . . I just play cricket," he said. That may well be, but I find it hard to believe that he was so narrow-mindedly focused on the game of cricket that he failed to register the fact that taking banned substances can be bad for your career, not to mention your health (drugs are bad mmkay?). I have known some elite-level athletes, and it would be hard to find a group of people more paranoid about what they put in their bodies. Forget banned drugs, most of them I've met have highly developed food paranoia of the sort only matched by chronic anorexics. Warne also seems to have missed the point that you sound more than a little stupid complaining about the unfairness of being suspended for taking a banned substance, at the same time as you are admitting to taking it more times than you have been busted for it.

The second thing that struck me was that apart from cricket, the thing that really seems to be occupying Shane Warne's mind is his own reflection. The banned tablets were (allegedly) taken to get rid of a double chin. We have now acheived such a high level of equality in our society that it is no longer just women who are possessed of crippling body image problems. Now men are surrounded by glossy magazines telling them why their appearance is so totally inadequate. And it seems that for people like Warne, sporting skills are not enough - you have to look good too.

I was also disturbed by the estimation that a one-year ban from cricket will cost Warne in the order of 2-3 million dollars. What kind of a world is it when, by his own admission doing nothing but play cricket is valued at 3 million dollars a year, compared to what we give people who, for example, search for a cure for cancer, devote their lives to battling human rights violations, etc. I mean, I know he plays cricket very well, but bloody hell.

Finally I was startled to note Warne's claim that he has been offered a cameo in a movie. God help us all.


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