Monday 19 March 2018

Hartley's abstinence not exactly a heroic effort

Like many of my contemporaries, I envy this generation of rugby players. Imagine being paid for your passion, your hobby, being paid to stay fit. If there is such a thing as working utopia, then being a professional sportsman is surely it.

It was therefore with disbelief that I read recently how England hooker Dylan Hartley had given up drinking to get his Test career back on track. It was presented as if it was some extraordinarily heroic feat on the New Zealand-born player's part following the World Cup in his native land.

Forgive me, but if abstaining from booze is not central to sporting professionalism then I don't know what is.

Apparently he hasn't touched an alcoholic beverage for four months now. Wow, how diligent is that?

Maybe I'm living in the land of nod, but if alcohol avoidance is not a given in this professional day and age, then I truly do despair.

Irish Independent

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