Thursday, 30 July 2015

Where the fuck are you, Tony?

I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase, ‘it starts from the top’.

Every man and his dog has had his or her say on the Adam Goodes debate from the bar down at the local, those who sit opposite you at the dinner table, commentators, fellow athletes to downright ‘pillocks’.

And yes I am looking at you Miranda, and Alan, and Rita, and Griffin (hideous name) and Jason. Surprised Dawn Fraser hasn’t found her way onto The Today Show as well…

Everyone’s had their say. All except one. And he’s a pretty notable one.

He’s the man that views living in remote Aboriginal communities as a “lifestyle choice” that Australian taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidies.

He’s the man at the forefront of this egotistical fear that refugees are better off towed back to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

He’s the man that presented Goodes with his Australian of the Year award just over six months ago.

Ringing any bells? Where the fuck are you, Tony?

The Closet Recluse will be the first to admit his knowledge of the political landscape is not one to be sought after for the latest university paper, however the month of May was a shocker for Abbott.

Unapologetically distancing himself from the Aboriginal community, his hubris that is his refusal to double-back over his inability to converse in unscripted conversation has provided further examination in recent times appropriating our societal argument that Australia is a racist nation.

The Closet Recluse is hesitant to join the chorus of labelling Australia a racist country, in much the same way that there were shouts of Islam as an extremist-terroris treligion almost 10 months ago.

In the growing age of digital and free media, it is the longevity and duration of the behaviour of booing Adam Goodes that is arguably uglier than the act itself. One cannot recall such divide on a sporting issue that has segregated social media forums, bar-stool banter and dinner-table conversation as we seem to have meta-morphed both sides of the coin into two tennis players hitting perfectly-executed forehands from opposing sides of different tennis courts.

As Tim Minchin said to a graduating Arts class at the University of Western Australia once: “Be hard on your opinions. After all, opinions are like arseholes – everyone’s got one.”

He would go on to say that opinions could somewhat significantly from arseholes in that yours should be closely and thoroughly examined.

I have spoken to, listened to, and sought the opinion of good people who adamant racism is alive and well.

I have also spoken to, listened to, and sought the opinion of good people who are hesitant to weigh in to the debate, for fear of being labelled a racist.

For want of a better word, the argument has appeared distinctively – and perhaps, rightfully – black and white.

First and foremost, people are angry.

While not in agreement, but attentive by way of understanding, there are those who are angry because they feel they are being judged by a Rene Descartes-like philosophy of “I boo, therefore I am a racist”.

Daniel Harford on SEN put it this way on Wednesday: “What I have understood very clearly over the last few weeks is that sport fans don’t like being told what to do or how to behave as sport fans, particularly when they feel like they haven’t done anything wrong.”

The systemic behaviour ‘Harf’ alludes to, can be referenced back to Genesis when Eve ate the fruit God told her not to eat. Curiosity and risk is as autonomous in human make-up as indifference. By now, it’s quite blatantly clear that hate and love are developed characteristics, requiring constant attention yet influenced by their surrounding environment.

But for people who fall on this side of the coin, please know that this is not okay. This is not right. This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. This is certainly not sound justification.

Granted ‘booing’ has been a part of sport for a long time. But behind ‘booing’, there is always a context.

Adam Goodes has not changed clubs, chased money, fucked a teammates’ wife or murdered a member of his family.

The treatment of Adam Goodes has been high-profile and very public bullying.

I’m sure in school many of you also learned that standing by and watching the bullying take place is just as bad as the bullying itself. This can certainly be referenced to ‘booing’.

While you, the boo-er, mightn’t use words like ‘ape’ or phrases like ‘get back to the zoo’, you’re participating in an activity that has race and derogatory origins. You’re not putting him off his game; you’re putting him off THE game.

Australian Rules football is in a very real actuality that Goodes will leave the game with the sweetness of a packet of Sour War Heads confectionery.

Unfortunately, Goodes has become the pawn on a chessboard between two kings with dichotomous representations of their differing agendas, refusing to let pawn be.

No one’s perfect – even Chris Judd had his flaws, which TCR felt compelled to look past.

But this latest issue has become a pretty clear-cut case of what Sue says about Sally, says more about Sue than it does Sally.

In this case, it is about what Tony Abbot hasn’t been able to say. And the silence is deafening.

To have schooled at Riverview College – the same as Abbott – leaves me disgusted that someone who learned the equivocal values I did in their formative years has been cast to the wayside.

Where Australia has needed leadership and direction, all we have found is a patron.

Where Australia has needed education and reconciliation, all we have found is a disciple to the darker values of our country’s history.

Where Australia has needed the Prime Minister to stand up, all I’ve found is a diminutive, smug, weak little man who I wouldn’t trust to walk my dog.

All I have found, Miranda, is a fucking ‘pillock’.

And that’s the most disappointing thing of all.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Short-term gain for long-term pain.

How far are YOU willing to go?
I don’t know if they had them in your classrooms at high school. Those posters.

How much are YOU willing to sacrifice?

It was usually an A3-sized print with a capitalised, bold-font caption, beneath an image of a 100-metre sprinter pushing his head in front of his competitors at the finish line. Or a squirrel dragging a nut twice its size. Or a shadowed figure alone on his college basketball court, hands on knees, sweat dripping from him.

What would YOU give up?

It was the latter of those that got to me. It was usually partnered with the line, “A champion is an athlete who succeeds when no one else is looking.”

If YOU fail, try again…
If YOU fail, try AGAIN…

If I could fucking rip those posters off the wall now, I would.

On Friday, a man’s narrow, possessive, dichotomous pursuit for excellence and success, left him dead at the hands of his son’s torture of being the sacrificial lamb.

Drug-induced, mind-altered motives borne out of hatred. It’s the wonderment of where did it all go so wrong that, for mine, is the bigger tragedy than the fact that Phil Walsh is no longer with us on Earth.

22 years on this planet has taught me the notion of love is often the devotion to your other, sometimes to the detriment of one’s own better health.

I envision that when that love extends to a responsibility like parenthood, the gap between better judgement and biased piety can be cataclysmic. A drive to ensure that your offspring are born, raised and grow up in circumstances better than you, the provider, experienced yourself.

But in the most heinous of circumstances, ambition meets individualism with fatal consequences.

To pigeon-hole such ambitions to the sporting sector would be flippant – my own parents, medical professionals, had let their work dictate their life for the opening eight years of my own. But, it is easy to witness the link.

Sporting coaches are dichotomous creatures; teachers to the players, yet students to the sport.

It consumes them – the desire to be better, and then be the best. At what cost?

The blinkers are up; whether it’s researching the analogies and parallels that Japenese linguistics might align with the sport. A sport (and a job) that’s already taken up 70 hours of your week before you’ve factored in time to sleep and exercise and eat.

Society has foiled into an instantaneous web of results-based focus. No one will stand up and clap for how many hours have gone in, as long as the outcome is positive.

No one, except the people who love you, and whom you are, in turn, supposed to love.

Does the nature for you, the consumed individual, to busy yourself with priorities and to-do lists, numb you to the collateral damage your absence as a father, mother, role model might incur?

To be civil: think of the children!

You only needed to watch the Channel Seven half time feature on interim Carlton coach John Barker last Saturday night. His eldest daughter, not much older than the same age I was when my parents decided to ascertain the life balance between provider and parent.

He’s good, but he’s away for most of the day, which is a bit annoying.

Charli Barker is the innocent version of Cy Walsh. Only actions differentiate them. Quite substantially, too, obviously.

The Walsh family case is extreme, but will it be the platform for which a lesson can be learnt?

There are elite sporting level coaches in the current environment today with callous, fractured and possibly unrepairable relationships with their children.

It is the fractured ones that have seen children bear the brunt of their parent’s singular initiative, but they dare not speak up. They dare not hurt feelings.

They dare not finger point; citing marriage and family breakdowns and laying great effect. Is this in turn the part where the ‘affected generation’ look to their kin, determined to provide them a better childhood than the one they were offered.

So what lessons will be learned from Phil Walsh being stabbed to death by his own son?

Friday was sad, tragic, but will live on very vividly for every Australian who woke up, fumbled for their phone or tablet and read the fateful, chilling headline.

I can only imagine the playback of horror for Meredith Walsh as she witnessed the ordeal unfold, or to Quinn – who is my age – who had heard the news second-hand. And of course, what next for Cy.

In this competitive world, supported by the theoretical parameters of ‘survival of the fittest’ in a physical, social and professional landscape, the desire to succeed and willingness to win will remain prevalent.

But ‘win’ what, in the great race of life…