LittleDavyOne, bless her, asked over dinner: “Why do we hate Quade Cooper so much?”
I nearly choked on my meager salad because, after all this, is my first-born, half of my chance of immortality, the apple of one of my eyes, and so on, and I had thought that I had hoped to pass along some moral education in these last two decades.
We don’t hate anyone, afterall. Everyone is a treasure, God’s love, motes and planks, and so on. But apparently being around me during various televisual presentations of certain sporting events had conveyed an alternative impression when it comes to the occasional person of an Australian persuasion.
The proximate cause of the question was my sharing the news that Mr Cooper will be playing at first five-eighths for the Wallabies on Saturday night. Which is a reasonably big call by coach Michael Cheika, given that Mr Cooper has not played much rugby this year due to injury. Which is probably why he has been named for the first crack in the internationals, to test his fitness and mindset.
I carefully chewed another lettuce leaf.
“I don’t hate him. I’m just disappointed in him. He has prodigious footballing talents,” I explained. “Brilliant side steps, exceptional vision, and the ability to put passes into a miracle of a gap.”
“But he has repeatedly put cheap shots on Richie McCaw. And he is weak on defence. So weak, in fact, that the team pattern has to be adjusted to cover for him. Compare that to the other great international fly-halves, who face up to the big fellas coming down the narrow channel.”
I’m thinking of Mark Ella and Stephen Larkham now. Great players, even if they are girt by sea.
“The really great players are the ones who work on their weaknesses as well as their strengths. They are humble always, never braggarts, and they respect their opponents. Cooper could have been great, should have been great. He has all the talents, but he’s missing something in his spirit. And that offends someone like me who never had the talent in the first place.”
She nodded thoughtfully and said “More lettuce?”