Weblog: Sports editor's view
Every night is apparently all right for fighting
CALM DOWN DEARS! Just what has got into everyone?
Is it the heat or is there some other lunar-based explanation for the outbreaks of fisticuffs in almost every sporting event I watched over the weekend?
First we had rugby players attempting to remove each other's eyes, then two speedway riders were duking it out in Cardiff before the weekend was topped off with a Nascar driver threatening to hurl his helmet at another after an on-track altercation.
Furthermore, why do I consider one of those incidents to be ridiculous inexcusable thuggery, one to have been tremendously entertaining and the other to have been slightly out of order but interesting all the same?
Taking them one at a time, it's impossible to fathom how South Africa rugby union coach Peter De Villiers can have made comments to the effect that anyone who objects to having their eyes gouged out by his flanker Schalk Burger should "go to the nearest ballet shop and get some tutus".
"This is sport, this is what it's about," said De Villiers.
Well no. No it's not.
Are there really rugby coaches in schools lining up groups of ten-year-olds and telling them; "Right lads, first principles, get the basics right and you'll be set for life. First off we'll cover eye gouging and then this afternoon Mr O'Neal will give you a decent grounding in how to rake your studs across someone's back"?
One wonders what exactly Lions winger (I went to a comprehensive so I'm not calling him a wing) Luke Fitzgerald did in the first 30 seconds of the game that can have so incensed Burger to attack him with such, um, relish.
"That's what happens out there and we'll all have a drink and laugh about it afterwards," seems to be the prehistoric thinking of some rugby folk.
But how are you supposed to do that if you can't locate the bar because your eyes are hanging out on stalks?
As for the speedway scrap between Emil Sayfutdinov and Scott Nicholls, the fact that both were fully encased in protective leather and wearing crash helmets makes their aggressive behaviour rather less serious.
There's something inherently amusing about men in helmets trying to land punches on each other in outfits designed to withstand high-speed impacts - the best of which remains the kung-fu fighting F1 dust-up between Nelson Piquet and Eliseo Salazar, a youtube classic.
So no harm done there - if Nicholls had wanted to gouge out Sayfutdinov's eyes he'd have needed a hand-drill and someone to hold his rival down.
Then in the Nascar we had poor old misunderstood Kyle Busch getting blamed for another crash after spinning out Martin Truex and sparking a multi-car pile up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Truex was smart enough to recognise that Busch was a) wearing one of those helmets b) still in a car and c) still moving, which was clearly going to make a bit of the old eye-gouging tricky.
Instead he refused to get in the ambulance until Busch came round again and then feigned throwing his own helmet at his rival.
Funny though it was to watch, and understandable as Truex's frustration was (I'd backed him, so was feeling almost as bad as him when he was spinning into an early finish having been running promisingly close to the front), you have to say he was out of order as, unlike Burger and Nicholls, Busch hadn't had a chance to apologise for any error on his part, which he duly did after the race.
Hopefully that's the end of all the aggression and everyone can chill out a bit.
As I write the lady cricketers of England and Australia are managing to have a civilised game with no hair pulling or biting.
Although if I see Andy Murray marching menacingly towards Stanislas Wawrinka later before planting a Glasgow kiss on his pal we'll know it may be some time before the midsummer madness ends.