Phrase – A chip on the shoulder. Definition – spoiling for a fight, anger due to a perception of unfair treatment, holding a grudge or grievance.
A selection of phrases used in definitions of one of the most widely used phrases in the English language. In much the same way as short man’s syndrome, those acquiring the so called ‘chip’ can’t take criticism and feel the need to constantly prove themselves against the outside world.
As is the case with Australian football and many of its most passionate supporters.
Leading a rather tragic sporting life, I had occasion recently to relive the 2005 penalty shootout with Uruguay where John Aloisi and Mark Schwarzer sent the Socceroos to their first World Cup in thirty two years.
Very few would argue about its significance in the history of Australian sport. It was a red letter day after the tragedy of previous campaigns.
Listening to the audio, I picked up on something that astounded me. During the shootout, ex-Socceroo Craig Foster said the following.
“This is as big as it gets in Australian sport. I’m sorry, but it is.”
I’d never noticed it before and wondered why. To whom was he apologising? And for what reason?
Let’s paint the picture. The migrant game, the wog game, the ethnic game, the game of cowardice and simulation, was on the brink of achieving a dream.
A packed stadium, intense media interest, public support and the prospect of meaningful international exposure and success had all come to a head.
The conversion by Aloisi is now part of football legend, yet why was a staunch football person apologising for pointing out the significance of the moment.
Was there some potential offence to Australian sensibilities? It read colloquially as, “yeah, yeah I know it’s only football Australia, I know you all love AFL, league and union more, but this is actually bigger. I’m sorry for hurting your feelings, but it is.”
As if there ever was need to apologise.
Yet the chip makes it so. I think I have one too. I’ve always sided with the battler, the forlorn and the disenfranchised. As I have written before, I grew up in a multicultural melting pot and watched the local migrant boys play like Gods in the local park. I felt isolated and marginalised from the game.
Ironically, as I joined them, we were to experience the same emotions as one.