Good news for Alf’s favourite sports presenters.
They don’t have to become lesbians to become better broadcasters.
Most of all Alf feared that Murray Deaker – who happens to be top of the bunch by far for him – might be a teeny bit inclined to read too much into a recent headline in London’s The Telegraph and start musing on how to act on the information –
‘Clare Balding: Being a lesbian helps me be a better sports presenter’.
Not so and Deaks should take no notice of the pitch to switch implicit in that headline.
This Balding bint, a British sports presenter, is to be applauded for coming out of the closet on this matter and putting things straight, so to speak.
She has publicly declared that her prowess has nothing to do with her lesbianism. Broadcasting prowess, that is.
Frankly, Alf had never heard of this Balding sheila until this morning, when he bumped into an item here about her and her gayness in The Daily Mail, not too long after he had choked on news that the Anglican church in this country is about to discuss gay marriage.
The Daily Mail article tells us Balding is a TV presenter who came out as gay almost a decade ago.
But it seems that being taken out of context by one newspaper after a giving rare interview about her personal life today was too much for the 41-year-old.
After reading a headline in the Telegraph which she believed was a misrepresentation of her words in a candid web chat Q&A, she took to Twitter to vent her frustration.
This was a bad move, in Alf’s book.
He would have wandered down to the Eketahuna Club and sunk a few shots of Scotch to vent his frustration.
Clare instead took tweeting tips from her Twitter followers and a fellow celebrity Twitterer (and pregnant popstar), Lily Allen.
It all started on the Mumsnet website, which Alf would have thought had no great attraction for lesbians.
She was taking part in the Q&A on the popular parenting forum to promote her presenting work around the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and to push her new book My Animals and Other Family.
One user on the site asked her if she felt under pressure to fulfil expectations as a woman and a lesbian, and whether it was a burden.
Ms Balding, who came out in 2003 and is in a civil partnership with Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold, replied: ‘I never feel it’s a burden and sometimes I wonder if it helps. I have never been a flirt so it’s not as if I would get giggly in an interview but I guess I benefit from not having anyone think that I’m commenting about a male tennis player or rugby player for any other reason than their talent on the field of play.’
The Telegraph picked up that quote and made a story out of it under the headline ‘Clare Balding: Being a lesbian helps me be a better sports presenter’.
The piece began…
‘Being a lesbian helps when you are a female sports commentator because you are focusing on male sporting prowess rather than their bodies, Clare Balding has said.’
Ms Balding spotted this is an early edition of the paper and tweeted about her anxiety over the article.
In a separate tweet she added:
‘For the record, I do not think being a lesbian makes me a better sports presenter any more than being straight would.’
That’s the important bit of the story, for Kiwi sports presenters like Deaker who just might have got the impression there was a professional benefit in becoming a lesbian.
The Daily Mail’s report goes on to record the advice Clare was given in the exchange of twitters, tweets and what-have-you with the aforementioned Ms Allen.
The exchange, and tweets of support from her followers, has left Ms Balding feeling much better. Alf is pleased.
He is much more pleased that Deaker need not be tempted to take extreme steps to improve his on-air performance (which requires no improvement because it happens to be top-class).
Deaker has other reasons to feel superior to this British lesbian.
She is merely Balding. As you can see from his picture, he long ago surpassed her on that score, too.