Play Hard, Drink Harder

Undercover Coves – Play Hard, Drink Harder

Play Hard, Drink Harder

Aussie Rules, SCG, Rugby League, and Union World Cups. Spring Carnival, Formula One and Bathurst. This Country has a proud history and culture. When it comes to our number one passion, sport, an ugly element evolves. Sebastian McCabe reports
Every Saturday around the country, thousands of men and women, boys and girls, chase balls, throw balls, hit balls and bowl balls. It’s as iconic to Australians as meat pies and Holden Cars. And when the sun goes down, and the game has been won or lost, the tradition of “a cuppla beers with the boys” is as much a part of it as the hard slog on the field.

We have seen many publicized stories of Rugby League, Rugby Union, AFL players and International Cricketers bringing their respective codes into disrepute by doing silly things whilst embracing this drinking culture. Are they that different to the thousands of other Australians who embrace this culture, or are they the victims of being famous?

“Mate they are paid a motza, and with that pay-cheque comes a certain element of responsibility. If they get caught pissed, and doing the wrong thing, then they should pay the penalty.” Opines Paul Langtry, a member of Lane Cove Cricket Club on Sydney’s NorthShore

“Look at us mate, we can get as loose as we want, and nobody gives a crap. The ladies love a bit of a touch up, and we never get into strife. We just say we’re from Roseville (a rival cricket club)” Alex Dodds chips in.

I join the impressive crowd of “Covies” as they are known, at a well known lower North Shore pub after 3 of their 4 teams were victorious earlier in the day. And the beer is being consumed at an impressive rate.

“We’re the Coves, and I’m the king!” One of them informs me. He bears a striking resemblance to actor John Malkovich. Perhaps a gay John Malkovich, but the resemblance is uncanny.

“You’re not the king, I’m the King!” A very young man argues. “I’m changing my name to ‘The King'” I think he says. His speech is very slurred. He then does a Michael Jacksonesque twirl and goes off in the direction of some un-suspecting females.

This group of men is obviously very close, despite one of them continually informing me “I hate these guys. They are the worst bunch of blokes I have ever met”. He then admits he is the Club’s Secretary.

Three very tall “Covies” with silly hair styles are drawing the attention of the pub’s security. One of them has a boyish grin and is harassing every woman that gets within arms length. The pub is packed and he’s working very hard. He tells me his name is Sebastian, like mine. My blood freezes momentarily. I am somewhat saved by a “Covie” wearing a shirt several sizes too small. “Do you know Alex Maxwell?” He asks me.

I have never heard of that name in my entire life, and I am bemused to say the least as to why he would ask such a question.

“He dropped an absolute sitter off my bowling. Hat-trick ball.”

I can’t help but start to like this Alex Maxwell guy. He walks away mumbling something incoherent about how much he loves the “Coves” and I breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

I am beginning to question the intelligence, or indeed the sanity of these men when I come across a “Covie” who has not had a drink all night.

“These guys are generally all university educated, and have respectable jobs. Charted Accountants, Lawyers, Engineers, Financiers, IT specialists, Taxi Drivers…” He informs me. He tries to convince me that they are all “great guys who love to get on the cans after the game. We play hard, we sometimes drink harder. It’s the Australian way”. Then again he told me his name is “Pies”. Maybe he’s telling porkies.

However, he almost has me convinced that the culture of this nation is collectively acceptable and accepted. They are nice guys, apparently, who are just enjoying themselves after a contest. Some of the “Covies” are with women. Attractive women. And these women seem quite happy to be in their company. It leaves me pondering that even the amateur sports stars can attract the ladies, and I don’t know what I can’t understand more. The boyish, irresponsible behaviour of too much alcohol in an all male environment is acceptable to certain women, or to Australian society as a whole. The celebrity stars that get themselves into strife after too many are not unique. They’re just famous.

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