Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jamie's Weekly Sports Thought - 21/11

I had an interesting broadcasting experience the other day which reinforced, again, how one-dimensional we are as sporting nation.

On the Farming Show we are currently running a great promotion giving away Steel Blue work boots to farmers. As fate would have it, the Australian ambassador for Steel Blue is none other than the great fast bowler Dennis Lillee.

He’s in the country on a promotional visit and naturally I jumped at the opportunity to interview him even though that meant jumping through some Steel Blue hoops before getting down to the nitty-gritty of cricket. Such is the reality of commercial radio.

The most interesting part of the interview, however, was that it was conducted in two parts. The first, of nine minutes duration, examined his commercial ties with Steel Blue but had a good portion of cricket woven into the conversation. I was more than happy to have got that from an international sporting icon and didn’t waste too much time exchanging pleasantries at its completion because I realized he is a man whose time is very valuable.

Imagine my surprise when the phone rang five minutes later and the bloke at the other end said, “Gidday, it’s Dennis here again mate, I dunno whether we talked enough about cricket. If you want to roll a tape we’ll talk some more about what you want to yarn about”.

What ensued was another 12 minutes of fascinating insight into the life and times of one of the world’s greatest cricketers.

In a country where it’s much easier to interview the Prime Minister than a leading All Black (believe me it is), I wonder how many top rugby players would show the courtesy, humility and grace of a Dennis Lillee?

For most rugby players, their phone is always off the hook. It’s my experience few ever return a call and I cannot remember one of them ever phoning back politely asking if you’d like some more of their valuable time because they felt they had not fulfilled their end of the bargain first time round.

Besides, would I sooner spend 21 minutes talking to Dennis Lillee about Rod Marsh, Jeff Thomson, Ian and Greg Chappell, Viv Richards, Barry Richards, David Gower, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe OR would I prefer three minutes of clichéd comment about the boys, outcomes, accuracy, tasks, goals and moving forward?

Mmmm! Let me think?


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