Cheaters never prosper, isn’t that how the old adage goes? It’s what we tell our children when they steal money out of the Monopoly bank or swear blind they weren’t offside on the soccer field, making a liar of everyone else!

It’s not fun losing, but apparently it’s character building. Somebody should have told that to the Australian cricket team before they brought the game into disrepute and lost the love of all the young ‘uns gunning for them.

Despite knowing very little about the technical aspects of cricket, I do understand how this beloved sport has been tarnished by a group of professional sportsmen who “tampered with the ball”.

In plain English: they cheated and got caught in the most epic fashion.

So many column inches have been dedicated to¬†who was at fault, who lied and why they did it, but if you had to break it down, the truth is plain as day. The most senior members of the Australian cricket team conspired to cheat because they didn’t think they could win otherwise.

This team, worth a gazillion or so dollars, and celebrated like demi-Gods in this country, have infamously become the talking point of the cricket world. These guys, in particular Steve Smith and David Warner were sporting heroes promoted to children as wholesome, good-guys.

Much like the captains and co-captains in Australian cricket before them, they were someone to look up to and feted with the kind of adoration (and sponsorship opportunities) that would make Kim Kardashian blush – and that’s saying something.

It sucks to be them right now, they will probably be called cheaters for the rest of their careers, if not forever. Will they ever live this down, or is this their legacy? Quite possibly, but that’s their problem now.

My problem is one I probably share with many parents right now. How to explain that these sporting guns, in a game considered a “Gentleman’s Sport”, are in fact, cheaters. It’s not something that can be flippantly explained away.

Do I say, “Pfft, it happens all the time, they were just dumb enough to get caught.”

Or how about: “Sure they cheated, but on the flip side, wouldn’t you prefer a win?”

Explaining adult behaviour to children sucks, because we are all flawed. (In my defence, I don’t get paid millions to pretend otherwise). The very idea that the adults that they look up to are not as remarkable as theit marketing campaign suggests, can be crushing for a child.

Disappointingly, the cereal box, brandishing their smiling face, is not a source of reputable news. It can be hard to protect a child from the truth when there’s a break in their cartoon viewing for a news flash and their sporting idol appears on TV looking downcast with a big CHEATER sign stamped on his forehead.

It’s a tough conversation to have with kids and I have avoided explaining the cricket saga in all it’s glory to my young family. Instead, I have directed them to find some new heroes, starting with the prodigious Ellyse Perry.

Now that’s one superstar Cricket Australia can be proud of.


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