No thanks! I keep getting pinged with messages from people, who obviously don't know me very well, asking if I want to watch two brawny men beat the testosterone out of each other.

Also, this week, it has filtered into my unsporty consciousness that some Australian cricketers are in disgrace for cheating. I know, more sports sleaze, yawn.

Sport, in the Greek Olympic spirit, was intended to be a vehicle for the display of human virtue. But is that what modern sports stars do?

Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius — how many of these so-called obscenely paid sports heroes need to be shown to be flawed before we take sportsmen down from their pedestals?


Can we please stop making humans with above-average hand-to-eye co-ordination into role models?

To be an elite sportsman (most of them are men) you need to be capable of brutality, if not to others, then certainly to yourself.

You need to be able to deny your feelings, over-ride your own pain. You need to starve yourself or gorge yourself or deprive yourself of sleep or normal human interactions.

You must become an expert at self-punishment. You must feel so driven to attain adulation, fame and glory that you would sacrifice anything to win. You must worship youth, perfection and money.

You most likely will also have had to surrender a normal childhood so you can embody the unlived lives of your parents.

To keep your heroic myth alive, you will not be permitted to acknowledge this wound, this loss, your tragic history, let alone mourn it.

You can't seriously tell me people who live like this are healthy role models to anyone but Ayn Rand? We need to grow up, and relinquish our attachment to this sick Nietzschean superman idea.

As a culture we have largely given up God with a capital G, the white-bearded man in the sky with hymns and Sunday school and all that. Now we have created new gods with six packs.

We still swoon at romantic archetypal heroic journeys. That's fine, as a myth. We love a good story. But anyone who took the time to stop and notice would know the character of these sporting gods are paper-thin.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was photographed with a bong and arrested twice for drink-driving. Tiger Woods was the world's No1 golfer, and an inveterate womaniser. Nothing in Lance Armstrong's pre-cancer career suggested he would ever win the Tour de France once, let alone seven times, but we all wanted to believe a cancer survivor could triumph in an exceptional way.

This need for sporting fantasy is infantile. We want to believe in heroic sports stars in the same way we want to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, or that the meritocracy actually works.

I understand if you're living a humdrum life, you need a bit of pixie dust. But when do we open our eyes to what sports really stands for? We are sold the spirit of fair play and the heroism of athletic endeavour, when really sport is full of violence, cheating and corruption. I don't care, because I hate sport, but if you're a sports fan, don't you feel just a tiny bit ripped off?

In the 15th century sport denoted an activity providing diversion, entertainment or fun, in the 17th century it was hunting, shooting and fishing, and after the industrial revolution it was about physical exertion and skill.

Now sport is predominantly a male world of million-dollar salaries and endorsement packages and multi-platform media coverage.

I can't help wondering when the feminist upheaval from #MeToo will reach elite male sport; still a commoditised entertainment which maintains masculine dominance. Sport still functions as a societal reinforcement to the idea that men are strong and women weak.

"Winning is male. Power is male. Money is male. Physical dominance is male. And big-time Las Vegas-lined, media covered, sold out venue, sponsorship-rich sports are male," write scholars Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano in Playing with the Boys, a call for gender equality in sport. Maybe sport in which women were equal would have more heroes I could admire? Or maybe you'd just have to insert "women" into Maxim Gorky's saying "Bourgeois sport has a single clear cut purpose, to make men even more stupid than they are".

I know it's tough to say goodbye to our illusions. It is painful to realise our heroes are just human beings and often micro-celebrity dirtbags, screwed up ones at that.

But personally I would rather live in reality. Let's give praise to real people who epitomise human goodness and character, not those who fetishise their bodies as machines.