On Sunday night, as I was eagerly watching the Men’s final against Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka I witnessed a moment in the match that left a bitter taste in my mouth. Nadal had just ran back onto the court after a medical time out to the crowd boo-ing and jeering. I was disgusted in how the crowd had reacted given that they don’t know the full extent of the injury but perhaps were more worried that they had spent almost $400 on a ticket and demanded a jaw – dropping match?
So that got me thinking, why do fans boo at sportspeople? A majority of the time, it happens when their superstar changes club for money, putting themselves first before their fans or for the love of the game. I must admit, that I myself have booed at the sportsperson before. As a Melbourne Heart (MHFC) fan, I was excited to hear that Lucas Neill was intending to play for my team and given that we were somewhat struggling at the time, having a Socceroos star on our team sheet must certainly mean that our team would benefit from that. But during the weekend where contracts were meant to be signed and sealed, it was all for the wrong club – Neill had decided to sign on with Sydney FC as the offer was higher than what MHFC offered. I felt robbed and thus would boo Neill whenever I saw him on tv or at the match.
However, to boo at someone who was clearly injured and yet still playing on just displays how demanding we are as spectators and how quickly we jump to conclusions and judge.
Never have I felt ashamed and embarrassed to be Australian, especially on Australia day after witnessing the treatment that Nadal received but most certainly did not deserve.
He had that much respect for the game, the crowd and his team that he played the whole match so hats off to Nadal for being a true champion.
P.S Also, taking nothing away from Wawrinka, he was a deserving winner – he had played an amazing tournament and was the first man to knocked out both the number 1 and number 2 seeded players.