Use opportunity, or lose it

IF, AS seems to be the suggestion, Tasmanians don’t want to go to watch the West Indies and Australia play a test match on our soil, do we care if we are not offered the opportunity again?

It’s true a lot of cash that could have been allocated to any number of other projects was spent at Bellerive in upgrading the venue to meet the requirements of Cricket Australia.

The main reason for the investment was to ensure Hobart could host games in this year’s World Cup but long term it was considered necessary to host major internationals, presumably such as a test match against the once mighty Windies.

The reality of course is that apart from the novelty of the Adelaide Oval and its hosting of last weekend’s inaugural day-night test, crowds weren’t that interested in Brisbane or Perth either. Just why Hobart seems to have been singled out for special threat from CA is a fraction puzzling if not a tad unfair.

But then it would be risky to wag the finger at the Perth fans, when a huge investment is being made in a yet-to-be-completed super stadium in their city. As for Brisbane being let off the hook – who knows, but maybe they got a talking to as well.

What is true is that forever we Tasmanians have whinged about not having the same opportunities to witness top-level sport as our mainland colleagues. And when we do, we have a nasty habit of finding excuses for not turning up.

If we turned back the clock 30 years, we might have walked over hot coals to see Viv and his Calypso Kings take it up to the Aussie boys. And perhaps the only reason we are being given the chance now is that the cast list, at least for the visitors, is of such dramatically different capability.

Either way, we have to be realistic about our expectations and stop being so damn fussy – that is assuming we actually want the bigger events to come across Bass Strait.

The Women’s Tennis International will never have the same bevy of stars as the Australian Open a week or so later. And neither Hawthorn nor North Melbourne are going to play Collingwood or Essendon every year, if at all, in roster games in Tassie.

But an injury aside here and there, the Australian and West Indies line-ups for the test match in Hobart will be the same as those who walk on to the MCG on Boxing Day and then the Sydney Cricket Ground soon after. And unlike the Sydney match, the Bellerive encounter has no chance of being a dead rubber.

Even with a lesser opposition in the eyes of most folk, there will still be a stack of people who turn out on Boxing Day across the water.

If we don’t put in a decent effort to do our bit – at least comparably – then we lose the right to bleat next time we miss out.

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