OK I have an admission to make. I am a financial member of the Hawthorn Football Club and have been since 1994.
I’ve been a supporter of the (most recently known as) Tassie Hawks since I was in high school. My reason for supporting them is a bit embarrassing (now), but basically I was watching a late night replay of a Hawthorn game, saw this player who I thought looked really cute and decided to change teams. Pretty fickle at the time, but I maintained my allegiance, even after this player (who never became a household name and, to be honest, on close examination of his official player photo, wasn’t really that stunning after all) departed Hawthorn.
I used to be a bit of a sports nut in high school and I knew all the players’ names and numbers, what position they were, how many goals they’d scored the previous week and so on. I was equally obsessed by cricket (and those that knew me in high school may well remember my obsession with Kim Hughes and my devastation at the abrupt end of his career in Australia).
I might add that I was one of the least talented sportspeople at school, by a long way, so my interest was purely as a spectator (and my gig as scorer for the school’s cricket team).
But while my friends were comparing the merits of Duran Duran vs Spandau Ballet (and I deliberately became a Spandau fan to annoy the rest of the girls, who were possibly more obsessed by the members of Duran Duran than I was by sports), I was trying to figure out how to actually become a member of the Australian cricket team or get onto the coaching staff at Hawthorn.
Since I left school, my obsession has diminished to the point that I’m only vaguely aware of most of the players names in the team now and doubt very much I’d recognise any of them if I saw them.
I’ve come full circle, from having a teenage crush on a player to now being old enough to be the mother of some of the younger players. (I realised I was getting old the day I realised that there weren’t any players in the Australian cricket team who were older than me!)
But despite all the changes in my life, following Hawthorn has been one of the constants.
I’m not going to talk about all the controversy around sports ‘stars’, even though it is a topic that concerns me. Like others, I have been shocked, stunned, disgusted and horrified by incidents from different codes of football (and other sports) that have made headlines in recent months. I believe there are a raft of reasons why many of these things have occurred, and that there are many different viewpoints as to who is responsible and what could and should be done better by all involved.
How much is individual responsibility. How much is a sport’s responsibility when they take young men, many of whom are still in high school, and thrust them into a world far removed from the ‘real world’ (consider some of the meltdowns from former child stars, for example). How much is society to blame when some of us hold these athletes up as ‘heroes’ and ‘icons’ and expect them to be role models for our kids. The media? What about the good things sporting organisations do? Is the professionalisation of sport to blame?
There are just so many issues involved, I don’t think there is any black and white, and I could sit down all night writing and still not come up with a clear position that I’d be comfortable with.
Yes, that’s a bit of a cop out, I know. But all I really wanted to do today was showcase my photo of the day, which is juniordwarf at the Hawks super clinic, held this afternoon at KGV in Glenorchy. It was part of the Hawks Community Camp, where they come to Tasmania for the week and hold various events around the state.
Yet I still managed to get sidetracked . . .
So today, any kids could come along and join in the coaching clinic. This was the first year of these clinics I’d been comfortable getting juniordwarf involved. In previous years he’d been a bit little and I’d been worried it would be a bit beyond his ability. But the people there said he was welcome to participate, and he could do whatever he was capable of.
|Run at the bag . . .|
|tackle it . . .|
|. . . get the ball|
So we picked out a group of kids who seemed the smallest and juniordwarf had a great time learning to tackle, kicking the ball and his version of handballing. It was fun to watch. The kids were meant to run at the bag and tackle it to the ground, and then handball the ball to one of the players. Juniordwarf's version was to walk up to the bag, knock it over and then kick the ball off the ground. His handball was a throw and they let him and the other little kids get right up close to the target. The players were really patient with the kids, especially the littlies, which was really encouraging.
Since juniordwarf's opportunities to play footy have been pretty limited up to now, he did a great job and he had fun, which was the whole point of going.