Crying, Sport and the Tim Cahill Man-Crush

The end of Terminator 2 or The Shawshank Redemption. The death of a beloved dog. Deciding to risk it when your mate swaps a tennis ball for a cricket ball in the nets.

They're basically crotch-seeking missiles

There are plenty of reasons for grown men to cry.

So grab your Kleenex, because here are some of the times that crying is allowed/encouraged from the Sporting World.

When an era ends with an oh-so-close loss.

When Roger Federer has a melodramatic teary after losing the 2009 Australian Open Final, we rightly thought it was strange. After all, he was an elite player and went on to win both Wimbledon and the French Open that year, and his Australian Open redemption was only 12 months later. The reason it was strange was that we knew he’d be back. Be mad when you lose. Be angry. Be disappointed. But crying is reserved for when an era comes to a close, through retirement or injury, especially combined with an oh-so-close loss. For instance, a preliminary final loss is oh-so-close… but if no era is ending, if your team/athlete will be back the following season, then you should turn disappointment into resolute determination… not self-pity.

The ‘I’ve got something in my eye’ lesson?

Crying is OK after a loss only when the saying ‘There’s always next year’ doesn’t apply.

HEY! That means no crying for you, Collingwood fans!

After personal tragedy.

In 2011, Sydney Swan Jarrad McVeigh lost his baby daughter to heart complications only a month after birth. His teammates went out that weekend and handed the Geelong their first home defeat in an astonishing 1462 days. The emotion in the Swan’s performance was palpable, and as a rabid Geelong supporter I know put it: “We were never going to win against that.” McVeigh’s mate and Co-Captain Adam Goodes openly wept as he left the ground after his immaculate 3-Brownlow-Vote performance. The message was clear: The match, the result, the season, and indeed the sport itself meant nothing in comparison to the weeks’ events. Absolutely nothing.

The ‘I’ve got something in my eye’ lesson?

Sport is just that… sport. There are plenty of things more important.

Pictured: A Human.

When  an individual overcomes monumental adversity.

Coming back from a knee reconstruction is tough. It’s a challenge. But winning after a knee injury isn’t monumental adversity. No, that kind of adversity is reserved for people like Paul Pierce, the Boston Celtics Captain who was stabbed 11 freaking times in the face, neck and back at a nightclub in 2000. The blade made its way 7 inches into his back and neck. He lost most of his blood and very nearly died. Less than a month later, he was back on the court, and wound up playing all 82 Celtics games that season. When he cried receiving his Championship ring in 2008, I think it’s pretty clear that the ring symbolised more than just sporting triumph.

The ‘I’ve got something in my eye’ lesson?

When sport allows personal triumph, it’s OK to tear up.

A 7 inch blade. Yeah. Ouch.

After a community faces tragedy

MoTD has a full-blown man crush on Tim Cahill. Even after “those two goals” against Japan, Tim somehow managed to become more of a legend after the horrendous ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires of 2009. A week after one of the darkest days in Australian history, a day which claimed nearly 200 lives, Tim scored the sealer in his side’s FA Cup Fifth Round win. Rather than show his trademark jubilant celebration, even in front of an adoring home crowd beside themselves with delirium, Tim simply pointed to his black armband, and then to the heavens. It was a simple and heartfelt gesture. He was sending a message halfway around the world, and he didn’t even say a word.

The ‘I’ve got something in my eye’ lesson?

When a community unites after adversity, it’s OK to tear up.


When you know you’re witnessing a moment.

One of the great things about sport is that it provides so many of “those” moments that matter more than sport. Ted Whitten’s lap of the MCG. Michael Jordan’s final game in Chicago, playing against the Bulls. East Timor’s Aguida Amaral coming 43rd out of 45 female marathon runners in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, but running her final lap to a standing ovation. Derek Redmond’s now-famous hamstring injury. And, of course, John Aloisi ending a 31 year drought for Australian football, and dedicating the win to the late Johnnie Warren.

The ‘I’ve got something in my eye’ lesson?

When sport allows us to show our best and most human qualities, it’s OK to cry.

German and English soldiers playing a friendly at Christmastime during WW1. The next day they went back to the trenches.


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