Who cares how fast you can run?

Where to from here? Oscar Pistorius being led into court.

Where to from here? Oscar Pistorius being led into court.

I was astounded to see an Australian journalist pose the question of what Oscar Pistorius’ alleged crime meant for the future of disabled sport, and it has me thinking about the way athletes get treated.

I’m happy to admit that when I heard of the incident on Thursday night, I like many others thought how tragic it was.

Within 24 hours all I could think was “He’s going to be spending a lot of time in prison if things don’t work out as he planned.”

I’m all for the presumption of innocence until otherwise proven, (so for the benefit of this post it was an accident [despite an obvious bias below]).

If found guilty, he will be sentenced to life imprisonment (minimum 25 years), as the prosecutors have deemed his acts were premeditated.

If it’s true he has a history of violence, then I think it can be shown that he had planned the act.

I’m not trying to be a criminal expert, just somebody who has an interest in both areas and thinks one cannot excuse the other.

How often in society have we seen somebody say “oh, they didn’t know better” or “oh, they’re famous, so the fact they were drink driving isn’t as bad.”

I fear Pistorius will attempt to use the same defence, citing all of those Paralympic words.

Paralympic words include – Hero, inspiring, amazing, feat of humanity… You know, the ones the able-bodied commentators and journalists roll out because they’ve got an embarrassingly small amount of experience dealing with people with a disability (Steph Brantz saying “So, does Cerebral Palsy affect your everyday life?” not only takes the cake, but the whole bakery).

I hope nobody falls into the trap of continuing to believe the hype around Pistorius.

He can now be seen as little more than a criminal who had managed to find his way into the public eye before potentially committing what is an all too common atrocity.

Don’t defend him, don’t talk about how fast he can run, don’t talk about him being one of the most respected people in the world and for your own sake and the sanity of people with a disability worldwide please don’t focus on the fact he has a disability.

Disabled or not, athlete or lawyer, Pistorius faces something which has the power to ruin his life and that’s the only thing he should be judged on from now until the saga concludes.


Reporting for duty

Michael Collins with the Claxton Shield

Michael Collins with the Claxton Shield

Less than a week ago I was pacing my bedroom, anxiously begging for the Canberra Cavalry to make the last out of game two of the ABLCS to clinch the first ever Claxton Shield for the Australian Capital Territory.

Cue a knocked down ball by closer Sean Toler and an underhand toss (looking at you Mr.Foulke [2004 Red Sox]) toss to Aaron Sloan and it was all over.

Now it’s a warm Wednesday night and I’m absorbed by the fact that Spring Training has kicked off in the States.

As a Red Sox fan, I’m devastated by the news John Lackey is healthy, so right now I’m focused on the Australian connection.

The main player in said connection right now is the man of the moment, Michael “Tubby” Collins.

When I spoke with Collins shortly after his appointment last year, he said the one of the most exciting prospects of the job was the Canberra fan base, who he rewarded in spades on Saturday night.

“Playing in front of our fans was about as much fun as I’ve had playing,  so now that I’m a manager this is a great opportunity to continue being with these fans. ”

Not only is Collins receiving well deserved accolades from the Australian baseball public after his efforts as a first-year manager, but he is also making waves within the San Diego Padres organisation.

After managing the Dominican Summer League team in the Padres organisation, Collins has in the last fortnight helped ABL Triple Crown winner Adam Buschini ink a deal, while Brodie Downs will head to Peoria, Arizona to link up with the Padres organisation as they head into camp.

While neither Buschini or Downs will get near Petco Park this year (fortunate circumstances aside), the work Collins has done to get them back into, or with a real at joining an affiliated organisation.

One question I’ve heard a lot in the last few days is “what can be done to get this on tv every week?”

Honestly, not a lot more than what is being done now.

Pick a team, get to a game, buy merchandise, grow the addiction and then feed it more.

With pitchers and catchers reporting within 48 hours of the end of the ABL season and the ABL opening little more than a week after the end of the World Series, it truly is a game that never ends.

I live for this.

A family affair

Monday morning will see the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49er’s go at it for the ultimate prize in American sports, and while it is set to be a cracker game, I don’t feel the excitement that I have in the previous years.

If it wasn’t for the John and Jim Harbaugh factor, I don’t think I could be remotely excited about this game, and for me this is the biggest storyline there is.

Forget Ray Lewis playing in his last ever game, forget the fact the Niners have never lost on the biggest stage.

Why ?

Because Ray Lewis would probably be serving 25 to life if he wasn’t a footballer and the Niners are a team who I have grown up with a dislike of (never mind what Colin Kaepernick did to Boise St. while he was at Nevada).

Rather than looking from the perspective of teams, I’m seeing the best attack vs the best defence in the league and a game which will be won by the team that can assert themselves early.

The Ravens have looked good in coming from behind the last two weeks, and while the Niners did the same against the Falcons in Atlanta, I was less impressed as I watched Matt Ryan continue to be one of the worst performing playoff QB’s in recent memory (Ryan is 1-4 in five playoff appearances).

It’s all about two brothers. Every kid does it in the backyard, coaching or playing against your sibling to win a title and Monday morning will see the fantasy come to life.

Jim and John know the other inside out, know what makes the other tick and  the situations they are likely to take risks in.

I feel the risk factor is bigger than any other, because there will be a point in the game where one side is going to need to risk it and I am almost certain the opposition sideline will have the perfect counter planned.

This could be the best Superbowl of the last decade, because who knows you better than family ?