Is is easy to see how people could get confused by today's article in the Herald Sun by Margaret Court, in which the tennis legend points out that if we keep letting people put their bits wherever they want to, our children will go blind and nobody will win at tennis anymore. Not that they would be confused by the content, per se: it's all good, commonsense advice for the modern generation and an important message for those hedonists among us who would rather have donkey-orgies than get beaten by a nun.
But it does raise a problematic issue: obviously we know that famous sportspeople are a lot more "on the ball" than the regular chap or lass, and their opinions hold far greater value than yours or mine. But how do we identify which sporting champion to listen to, and if two different sporting champions express conflicting opinions, how do we know who's right? I mean, if Greg Norman writes a column tomorrow telling us all to make bottom-whoopee every night, what are we to think?
It is to resolve this problem that I have embarked on a study of sporting prowess and how it relates to social and political opinion. This is the Pobjie Scale of Sportsperson Rightness.
On this scale, sporting achievements carry a certain value, which contributes to how correct the sportsperson in question will be on any given subject. Margaret Court will always be VERY correct, because she won 24 grand slam tournaments. On the other hand, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt have only won 2 each, so they are 1/12 as authoritative about things as Court. Even if they make a joint statement it only carries a sixth as much weight as Court. So if you ever see an article written by Rafter and Hewitt advocating gay marriage, you can be sure that gay marriage is six times wronger than non-gay marriage, in tennis terms. Steffi Graf won 21 grand slams, so she's almost as correct as Court, but in a face-off, Court still wins. So should Steffi offer an opinion on how to resolve the Eurozone crisis, it will be a good one, but if Margaret Court disagrees, you have to go with the Aussie. Rod Laver of course won only 11 majors, but did complete the Grand Slam twice, which has a multiplier effect. Then again, so did Court, which cancels that out, but the multiplier does mean Laver outpoints, say, Pete Sampras, should they disagree on issues of social and/or monetary policy.
OK, so far, so simple, you say, but what about non-tennis players? How can we compare them? Here it gets a bit more complicated. Allan Border hit 11,174 test runs, which means his opinion is very valuable, but is it more valuable than 24 tennis majors? And what about Heather McKay/Jack Brabham?
Well now we must implement a points system, whereby each sportsperson's achievements receive a weighted score according to difficulty, prominence of their chosen sport, and ability to get their opinions into the paper. Utilising this "Pobjie Scale", we can see that Border's test runs add up to 46 points, or "dinkums", whereas Court's grand slam victories add up to 51. So Court beats Border. What Allan Border's views on gay marriage are I don't know, but if they clash with Court's, he will, sadly, be incorrect.
Shane Warne, though, is a very different matter. His 708 test wickets and 3000+ test runs add up to a monumental 59 dinkums, meaning he is a true opinion leader, or "SuperMargaret". Therefore, if it turns out that Warne is in favour of marriage between consenting sexual unconventionalists, Margaret Court will be rendered incorrect, and must either adjust her views or come out of retirement and win Wimbledon again if she wants to be taken seriously.
Mark Webber, on the other hand, has only 7 dinkums, and can therefore be ignored about everything.
So, next time you see a sporting legend opining on vital matters pertaining to our society, our government, our economy, or our eternal souls, simply refer to the below chart to judge whether you should listen to them or not. In order of opinionistic correctitude, Australian sportspeople run thus:
Shane Warne - 59
Margaret Court - 51
Cadel Evans - 48
Allan Border - 46
Steve Waugh - 46
David Campese - 45
John Eales - 43
Layne Beachley - 40
Dennis Lillee - 35
Ian Thorpe - 33
Dawn Fraser - 31
Greg Norman - 28
Ron Barassi - 25
Makybe Diva - 22
Jeff Fenech - 19
Sam Stosur - 15
Sally Pearson - 12
Mark Webber - 7
Mark "Jacko" Jackson - 2
Armed with the Pobjie Scale, all Australians should know what to think about everything in no time!