Australia lost recently to South Africa in a test match – a very rare occurence. This is what Kevin Pietersen, in India playing a Test match when the event occurred, had to say:
“When I was batting I saw on the scoreboard South Africa had won – and it made me chuckle a little bit.”
In other words, it was a pleasure for him to see Australia lose. In fact, I do not think that was an isolated emotion: most people are happy to see the Australians brought down to Earth as mere mortals. Is that a normal reaction when seeing a champion side come thudding down?
I remember recently when Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer at Wimbledown – which was a little unexpected, to say the least. Everyone expected the champion, Federer, to bounce back from his recent defeat at the French Open against the same opponent.
Even though Federer was the unquestioned champion for quite some time, and it was a relief really to see someone seriously challenge him after so long – in fact since the time he arrived at the top of the rankings, yet, it was not a chuckle that was the general reaction; no one was happy to see him lose. We were happy to see the competition, and the coming of age of Nadal, but we were sad to see the Champion lose.
Isn’t that what sport should be about? I think Federer makes a great champion – he knows how to behave like one. The crown fits on his head.
The Australians – they were the champions, yes, but only on the field, only because they won. Were they Champions in the fullest sense? I don’t think so.