Opinion

OPINION: Culture of binge drinking still alive

Mike Knott

FOR anyone who missed it (and I'm sure that's not many of you), rugby league star Mitchell Pearce had a pretty big Australia Day.

I guess he's just super passionate about that British landing.

What many of you may not have seen is the uproar on news websites defending Pearce's actions as drunken shenanigans.

Wow.

There's a problem and a half.

Look, it wasn't a great week for sport generally this week.

Whether it was players and their corruption, players and their commentating or players and their downright despicable acts with dogs, it just struggled to find positive press.

Yes. You read correctly.

In a week where Australia is just about the focus of the sporting world outside of some impressive bowl or something in the United States, our athletes have managed to stuff it all up for us.

Apparently no amount of Australian Opens, Australia Day cricket fixtures or mock races in backyard swimming pools featuring yours truly could have even saved it.

This is a time when we are supposed to be the toast of the sporting world; instead, the sporting world is turning us into toast.

And rightly, too.

I can't believe for one second that all athletes have not matured from their high school jock days.

I can't believe for one second that even more than a minuscule minority are still treating alcohol the same way they did when their older brother first bought them a four-pack of West Coast Coolers in Grade 10.

I can believe for considerably more than a second that this web-based reaction highlights a serious issue with binge drinking in this country.

Sure, that may not sound like a news flash. But I'm not talking about people having a few too many drinks on the odd occasion.

Your GP might not recommend it, but at least it's not violating any friendships, social etiquettes or dogs.

I'm talking about how we're apparently excusing disgusting behaviour after said drinks.

We may not have all had nights as alcohol-abusing as Mitchell Pearce's Australia Day commemorations, so I'll stop short of saying that.

But a lot of us have.

And I'll be first to admit that I've done some foolish things under the influence.

That said, I'm not sure too many of us have allowed ourselves to stoop to the level to which young Mitch thought it best to stoop.

I'm more than aware that this bloke has the rather unfortunate dilemma of being stuck in the public eye, and that if he didn't, he would have woken up with nothing more than a desperate need for aspirin and a lack of certainty as to how he ended up on a park bench snuggling with a grasshopper.

In other words, there's no way we'd even be talking about any of this.

But, hey, maybe it's good that we are.

Because if this is indeed "boys being boys", then our nation's obsession with binge drinking is significantly more terrifying than I once thought.

I'm completely fine with young Australians seeing a few drinks with friends as a good way to let the hair down.

I'm completely not fine with young Australians dismissing Mitchell Pearce's actions as merely drunken shenanigans.

Topics:  bundaberg, mitchell pearce




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