You heard it first on Troppo!

Having posted on Collingwood and racism last night, I came across this in the Sunday Age. The idea of sporting bodies getting involved in making our world a better place is a bit scary at one level. A bit like religious leaders lecturing us on politics (With the AFL getting politically involved, Australia could fall to theocracy yet!). But for as long as I agree with what they’re doing, I think it’s great.

Blogs are a good place to post half baked theories, and I have a half baked theory which is that everyone should get into a bit of subversion for the common good. That is, no matter where you are, and no matter what your ‘core functions’ are, whether they’re making money for a company as its director, or screwing bolts into a piece of metal on an assembly line, you can do some good in the world and probably do yourself some good at the same time – all the while not doing harm to the cause represented by your ‘core functions’.

One can build a theory of ‘corporate social responsibility’ around this idea, but I won’t try to do so here. I’ll leave that till another exciting installment. In any event, the article in the link above could do with a heavy edit, but its content is very very interesting. The AFL have clearly done fantastic things engaging with the Aboriginal community. Good on them.

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Cameron Riley
2022 years ago

Sport is the Australian civic religion, so it is no surprise that some would seek to define our moral values through sport. Whether it is valid or not will be determined by the acceptance/rejection of the public.

Personally I play sport for selfish reasons, ie I enjoy it – so I reckon sport will have the same success in morphing my civic/moral/ethical values as religion does. Basically bugger all.

Nicholas Gruen
2022 years ago

But, like religion, sport is part of ‘civic society’ and as such a potentially powerful force for good. You might play it for selfish reasons, but you generate more good doing it than just the good to yourself.

Rafe
2022 years ago

My half-baked idea for getting sportsplayers involved in civics was to recuit selected players as personal mentors of delinquent young people. I know that the players in some rugby league clubs visit schools and (less often) childrens wards in hospitals because now they are fulltime professionals they have heaps of time on their hands. In Sydney there is an organisation that does mentoring and anti-bullying programs and one of the directors who was a retired player was keen on the idea but he was too busy with overseas business commitments to pursue it. In view of the antics of some players the participants would need to be screened and the process would need to be closely monitored, but the point is that young delinquents might take notice of advice from a sporting hero that they would ignore from a schoolteacher or a social worker.
Given the time on their hands it is interesting how few of our top sports playes in some sports have academic qualifications, Brad Hogg on tour in England is sitting uni exams but he is one of only two in the cricket squad who has been engaged in uni studies. Years ago the manager of the Pakistani side on tour in Australia boasted that half his boys had been to uni compared with none of ours, the implication being that our cricketers were a lot of yobs, which was true but the Pakis were not much better, Miandad especially.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Good points Rafe. Right with you there. I’d love to see our top sportists getting a more bit intelligentlly engaged with the community that played a massive part in getting them where they are now- with our bloody taxes.

Incidentaly Rafe, I am not now, or have ever been, a member of a communist party. Feel free now to re-read my comment in that light.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

You are right about the edit. Slattery is a fantastic writer about footy and food, but he has been allowed to rampage without a blue pencil for a long time.

But I reckon he is one of Melbourne’s true characters.

I am unsure about his idealistic framework though. Footy is complex, but one of the things it does sustain is sheer blood drinking uberstomp HAI! masculinity, with all the pleasure of crushing your enemy and drinking his blood in front of a hundred thousand people.

Perhaps footy is just an extreme arena in which the good and evil of humanity is played out, in a context which keeps the battle safe and symbolic – and cathartic.

To get the best out of the AFL, it is also important for community organisations to manage their side of the relationship. The recent TAC dumping of Richmond is a ridiculous case in point, and a complete failure of perspective.

The theory that footy players should be role models in their private life is part of this. It violates the boundaries between public and private, and allows horrible wowsers to push their reactionary “no drugs, no fun no funny business” line on a huge public stage.

The annual Community Cup, played at the Junction Oval last Sunday between teams from the Sacred Heart Mission team and 3RRR is a classic example of the social power of footy, as the Age acknowledges at http://heh.pl/&dN

However, I do suspect most of the 22,000 who showed up for an awful game of footy probably came for a reformed Weddings, Parties, Anything.

Where are the women in AFL?

Nicholas Gruen
2022 years ago

“no drugs, no fun no funny business”.

Hmmm. Sounds like my kind of club. Maybe a good slogan for Troppo. I’ll talk to Ken.

But seriously folks, I agree. AFL is obscenely aggressive. Otherwise – its great!

David Tiley
2022 years ago

Sorry Nicholas, but you can’t hide your sense of fun.

Rafe
2022 years ago

Now that we have got our priorities in order and settled down to serious talk about football, I should mention that I started a football blog to find out what is involved in setting up and managing a blog for the address see my signature for this comment. Unfortunately it has suffered from lack of love and attention however it will help if I can recruit a person from each team to provide a comment on their good or bad fortune afer each round.
Also it will help if Ken gets my biographical profile up on the Troppo team roster to indicate my multicultural experience in this area which included playing (seriously) in a team captained by Jeff Harcourt, of neo-Kennesian fame, and also a stint in the front row for a rubgy league team representing the (then) Australian Council for the Arts.

Rafe
2022 years ago

Of course I meant Geoff Harcourt of neo-Keynesian fame. He is now back at his intellectual home in Cambridge (England). His spiritual home is Australia due to his love of real football, played with sides of 18 and the oval ball. It was said that he would stay in Australia as long as he could turn out on Saturdays and play the great game, which he was doing in 1968 with the Uni of Adelaide fifth 18.