WHAT does bipolar mean? I have this mental picture of two polar bears sitting inside your brain, squabbling and snarling at each other until they eventually send you eddying down the behavioural sink. I’m probably wrong, but it also occurs to me that if you can claim to be bipolar, you can do exactly what you like with impunity: ‘‘ I killed my mother but I couldn’t help it because I am bipolar, it’s in my genes.’’
According to the nay- sayers, genes are the scapegoat for all sorts of weird and wonderful things, including believing in God. If you press a small button in your brain, apparently, you’ll almost immediately fall on your knees and worship, but push another button and God will be zapped.
Maybe there’s also a genetic element to sport: there are those who thrive on it either by playing or, as the years take their toll, watching it. And then there are those who scorn games of any description and regard themselves as intellectually superior to men and women rough- housing around a field with a ball.
Sport can make a huge difference to the lives of the underprivileged. If you come from Africa, for example, and you can run fast, or kick a ball well, there is a chance you can escape the poverty and misery facing you. Think of the Tanzanian marathon runners and other African sportsmen, especially soccer players. It’s also an ice- breaker: savvy people helping young Sudanese migrants settle in a vastly different land have found that organised football games are a huge success in breaking down race, religious and cultural barriers.
But you do have to draw the line somewhere. I, for one, would ban boxing, probably because of a childhood trauma. When my mother was out playing tennis, golf, skittles or water polo, my brothers earned a small fortune by putting a notice on our front gate saying: ‘‘ Come and box our sister for sixpence.’’
You have to wonder why the Chinese have taken to ping- pong like fish to water, and beach volleyball leaves me cold. Basketball, too, for that matter, and I wouldn’t cross the road for a chicken fight.
Those who have no truck with sport would be totally oblivious to the current outbreak of hostility between Wallaby and Springbok supporters. The latter are thinking of taking themselves out of the Super 14 and playing in the northern hemisphere, mainly because they’re in the same time zone as England, and they’ve been blaming jet- lag for their uninspiring performance.
A South African friend, clearly stung that we beat them a couple of weeks ago, wrote this week that he found the insulting behaviour of our Tri- Nations players towards the Mandela Trophy — ‘‘ which they won by sneaking home against our B team’’ — sickening.
‘‘ Perhaps the problem with the Aussies is that they have never produced any truly great people. Maybe Nicole Kidman.’’
Murder springs to mind, He should have his head examined.
fraserj@ theaustralian. com. au