I have a lot of time for Justin Langer. He was a tough competitor, and as a devout Christian has been more than willing to donate his time to various good causes after his retirement.
That’s why I found this rather odd. Responding to comments from Mike Atherton (who I personally consider the best of the excricketers-turned-pundits brigade) that he felt were denigrating to the “Baggy Green“, Langer had this to say:
“Try telling every young kid playing in Australia that a baggy green isn’t something to aspire to,” Langer said.
“It’s like telling your own kids there’s no Santa Claus, monarchists that the crown jewels are a load of rubbish or a Christian that there is no God.”
Seriously? I am sure he didn’t mean it that way, but putting the Baggy Green on the same level as God is going a bit too far for my taste. I am a cricket tragic, but anyone who puts sport on that sort of level needs to get some perspective.
Since Steve Waugh‘s days, Australian cricketers have given the baggy green an almost totemistic place. While this has no doubt helped team bonding, and I am a firm believer in the importance and value of tradition and continuity, I tend to agree with Nasser Hussain that this is not where Australia’s years of domination sprang from, more from the coming together of a freakishly talented group of players.
It’s nice to know that it isn’t just in the church that people come to regard a symbol as valuable in itself, rather than being valuable because of what it represents!