OK, I’ll admit I’m a late adopter. If there’s a new gadget on the market, I’ll get it about three years after everyone else. I’ll embrace a fashion trend just as the hipsters are sending it to the charity bins.
And it’s taken this sports devotee twelve years to appreciate the merits of T20 cricket.
T20, of course, is the short version of the short version of the gentleman’s game, introduced when even the one-day format, a fraction the length of its Test cousin, was considered too long for fidgety fans.
It’s the short version twice removed, if you like, Test cricket’s runty second cousin, diminutive but brash and the life of the party.
Now it seems every sport is getting in on the quickie.
Last week, Aussie fans got their first taste of Fast4 tennis, complete with a DJ and Rafael Nadal’s disco-inspired outfit in case boredom should set in among the crowd between points.
The world’s top golfer Rory McIlroy reckons there should be a faster form of his favourite game — as a friend of mine quipped: “What, like putt-putt? — because people don’t have time to spend six hours on a golf course anymore. Apart from professionals, that is.
Five-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan wants to bring in power snooker, complete with shot clocks and bonus balls, to get the audience more involved and ‘capture that darts kind of vibe’. Yes, that’s what’s been missing from my life, that darts kind of vibe.
There’s even talk of shortening the Tour de France. Presumably because it’s too bloody hard to do three thousand clicks drug-free.
Now, I get that we’re all time poor and have the attention span of ferrets these days. And yes, there are some sports that could use a hurry up. Like lawn bowls. Curling. And breaststroke. Fast synchronised swimming would be hilarious.
But is it really a good idea to pander to our treadmill existence? Is it wise to feed our addiction to instant gratification?
Car maker Henry Ford once famously said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Maybe in our sports spectatorship, we should be steered away from our natural tendencies as well. Perhaps we should be told: “Look mate, how about you take five days out, slow roasting in the sun like a rotisserie chook, drinking beer and watching cricket?”
It’d be good for us. It would calm us in a more interesting way than sitting in the Lotus position saying ohm. It would reacquaint us with a time when life wasn’t so frenetic. Best of all, we would be spared the Channel Nine commentary team’s pizza insights.
Because if we keep going down our current track, where does it end? Will we get to the point where we say: “Are you kidding? I don’t have 10 seconds to watch a running race. Can’t they do it over fifty metres?”
And before we know it, in our everyday lives there’ll be fast food, power naps and short films. Seven-minute workouts. Two-minute noodles. Ninety-second rice. Speed dating. Crash courses. Fast forward. Quickie sex.
Then where would we be?