The sweetest victory of them all

Obsessed sportspeople, like myself, commit most of their growing years to perfecting simple physical activities like throwing balls or hitting small objects (or other people) in a certain way. A very small minority of us succeed in turning our obsession into a major money spinner; the rest of us are driven on primarily by ego. Were good enough to capture the Also-ran prize for punctuality or a coachs award for commitment, which helps us feel better about ourselves.

Sport is a relatively harmless obsession. Sure its societal value isnt extraordinary, but how many Nobel Prize-winning scientists or Fred Hollows can the world actually produce? Most of us are just ordinary working class people trying to escape the stress and drudgery of the daily grind and what better way than to throw a ball or some other person about on the weekend. Sadly, as we age, our ability to seal the coachs award wanes; younger and even more strangely dedicated sportsmen and women get to the game earlier, and score and umpire everything going. Inevitably we become yesterdays coachs pet and our egos suffer.

Its at times like these that we need to think laterally. Most people who we work with didnt spent the majority of their time at university in the bistro staring down the barrel of a cue. Very few people think it a worthwhile expenditure of time just serving a tennis ball to no-one. So all the committed sports obsessed individuals need do is organise a sports day for their work mates.

Mr Soccer and Echo advertising guru Mark Robinson and I did just that on the weekend a sporting Christmas party. Now to be fair, Robbo is a very humble man (pause for effect) and I know for certain that he threw all his games so that the rest of the staff could enjoy the surge of winning a little plastic trophy and the applause of their peers.

I dont throw games. Well, not unless Ive gambled against myself, so it really wasnt that big a struggle to win almost every discipline wed organised to play. Many of you might think that beating the accountant or the graphic artists would not offer the same level of elation as knocking off other obsessed sports lovers and that is partly true. There is nothing more enjoyable than beating an old fashioned gamesman or gameswoman, thrashing someone who leaves stretch marks on the rule book. Thankfully Robbo, being the generous and self-effacing bloke he is, let me win the grand final of the pool comp... and the singles bocce, and the doubles tennis, and the singles tennis.

Perhaps others could try my approach. Maybe Kim Beazley could organise a political trivia night at the local pub, with Glen Milne as a special guest. Thorpie could throw a pool party for his Hollywood mates. And president Bush could get his staff to devise a town idiot festival, where the winner of the semi-literate dribbling monologue trophy would get to be leader of the free world for a day.

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