We’re taught from a young age that alcohol isn’t a good thing. Sure, it makes people seem happy; sure, it was what people drank on special occasions; but the reality is that alcohol is a drug. So why is Australian culture so infiltrated with drugs?
For as long as I remember, celebrations and alcohol go hand in hand. At birthdays we drank alcohol. After funerals we drank alcohol. At weddings we drank alcohol. After elections we drank alcohol. After sport we drank alcohol.
Most recently, the Cricket World Cup win that was incredibly well-deserved by the men in gold, has been linked to alcohol in a way that has made me question what being Australian is all about. Shane Warne, a former world class cricket player was interviewing the players post match and could talk about nothing else other than the boozing fest they were supposedly about to embark on. This interview was being conducted on international television – it was the most watched cricket game in history.
Today social media was alight with comments saying this was inappropriate, wrong and he was being a poor role model. In some ways it most definitely was. But the real question that every Australian has to ask is why did Warnie even feel compelled to ask those questions? Why is celebrating by drinking so important to Australian culture?
It’s everywhere, as I mentioned before, I don’t remember a time in my life when a celebration didn’t involve alcohol. So why can’t we have a good time without it?
Chatting to a colleague earlier they shared that while in Paris for the Soccer World Cup some years (decades!) ago, they picked up a six pack of beer thinking it was totally normal and set out to find some friends to enjoy the festive and celebratory atmosphere. But while they walked, they could find no one doing the same thing. People were crowded in bars but they weren’t going wild drinking with celebration. They were sitting down staring at the television. They then realised that Aussies celebrated sports wins (or loses) in a very different way to other people.
All levels of sport have association with alcohol, and not just through advertising. While on a plane last week an entire NRL team was also on the flight. It’s pre-season and while I was unsure if the players were getting into the grog, the coaches sure were! The amateur footy clubs are also wild with alcohol and the club houses are often full of booze loaded men and women on a Saturday evening.
So why do we celebrate with this drug? Why is it such an integral part of Australian culture to celebrate like this? It has come close to ruining so many thing, and in some case it has ruined them. So will we ever stop? Can the Australian culture fundamentally change like we need it to?
Do you agree with the writer? Share your thoughts in the comments below…