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Are Ashton's Celebrations Too Much?
Posted Feb 24, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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There is something magnificently compelling about the outrageously OTT way that Chris Ashton hurls himself over the try-line with a swan-dive that would make the Old Spice man applaud. It’s completely and utterly unnecessary, making the Englishman look like he’s celebrating the first try anyone has ever scored.
There is a very common school of sporting thought that says scoring in this manner is wrong: it’s unprofessional and undignified. It’s an over-celebration of what is a fairly common achievement in the sport, and is an indulgence that any genuine professional should avoid.
This argument is usually based around ex-players who are overly serious and want the sport to return to the days when players weren’t even paid, simply because of bitterness. Well, this school of thought is as out-dated as the people involved in it. Whilst modern players might have the nice car, the big house and the model girlfriend that by no means that they have to stop enjoying the game. Surely the point of playing is, after all, because you enjoy it?
When Chris Ashton goes hurtling over the tryline, he looks like the happiest man in the world. He is playing the sport he loves at the highest level and is proudly representing his nation: who wouldn’t be happy? No, not everyone would score tries in this manner, but not everyone is the same.
In any team sport there should be rules of fitness and rules to govern tactics, but there should never ever be rules preventing what comes naturally. You’d never catch Glenn McGrath trying to bowl as fast as Brett Lee in a test match and you’d never catch Andy Carroll trying a Ronaldo-style step-over. When players abandon their natural game they usually suffer.
England Coach Martin Johnson has openly praised Ashton, stating that he has ‘brought an energy to the team’ and that he, like the other young players are ‘having fun.’
Professional doesn’t have to mean boring. As long as Ashton keeps swooping over the try-line, the England fans won’t care. The critics should pipe down.