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  Issue No 60 Official Organ of LaborNet 30 June 2000  




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The Locker Room

Moving the Goalposts

Reviewed by Anth Courtney (no relation!)

In his Author's Note at the end of "Moving the Goalposts", Mark Courtney makes apologies for any inaccuracies which might be contained within the book, but he quite rightly qualifies this attitude by stating that "in the final washup, I reckon how you remember something, how it actually felt at the time, is probably more important."


A Young Mark Courtney on the cover of "Moving the Goalposts"

In the context of reviewing this book, I would not only second this editorial sentiment, but I wish to adopt the same approach. After a first reading, I openly admit that I couldn't recite every single incident that Mark talks about in his 224 page red and green fantasma.

In fact without being prompted, I probably couldn't convey accurately more than 20 or 30 of the incidents/events/observations that he relates.

But if you asked me to convey the emotions that I felt while reading it on the train and bus that I caught home this afternoon from Redfern to Penrith, then without thinking I could offer you a detailed and lucid response.

I could tell you about how I laughed myself silly at the thought of Mark banging his head into the hill of Redfern Oval. How I shared his frustration at the obnoxious and ignorant attitudes of the executives at the NRL. I could admit without hesitation that I cried on the bus when reading about the devastating impact that the October 15 decision had upon supporters of all ages, sizes and backgrounds. But most strikingly and starkly upon Angela and her kids.

If you were asked to sum up Mark Courtney, you'd have no hesitation in using only two words, "Red and Green"; and you could feel satisfied that people would know what type of person he was.

If you were asked to sum up the experience of reading "Moving the Goalposts", the words "empathy" and "emotion" would be a quite valid and satisfyingly thorough description.

Because when you read the book, the one thing that strikes you is that at some point or another, and in some chapter or another, you've been there and you know exactly what Mark is writing about. Whether it be remembering vividly the moment that Mark is describing and remembering feeling similar emotions of happiness or frustration, or experiencing similar attitudes towards opposition teams, players or executives as

Mark conveys.

As a South Sydney supporter, you too have analogously jumped the fence at some point in time.

Put simply, in every South Sydney supporter there is a little bit of Mark Courtney. In "Moving The Goalposts" there is a little bit of the life of every South Sydney supporter.

And when there's not, when there's a chapter that you cannot relate to because you weren't present to share the experience, the strongest emotion that you can feel is regret.

Because that's how captivating and powerful Mark's story is.

I must confess that when the decision was handed down on October 15th, I was standing on Platform 14 at Central Station listening intently down through the earpiece of a payphone as Dad relayed what was being said on the radio. After I'd hung up (half breaking the handpiece in the process: apologies Telstra), I had an instinctive urge to just walk off the edge of the platform and hope that the next country train to Wyong would poetically cast me aside in the same fashion that Whittaker et al had done to my beloved Souths.

Thankfully that instinct passed, but I dealt with the inner turmoil by getting on a train back to Penrith instead of continuing onto the Leagues Club at Redfern as planned.

Having read the chapter titled "The Execution", I deeply regret my actions. Sitting on the bus this afternoon, I wished that instead of catching the train home on October 15th, I'd carried onto the Leagues Club like Mark did. But what I wish most of all and have deep feelings of regret for not doing, is that I'd been standing alongside Mark when he screamed unrestrained abuse at tv images of Neil Whittaker later that evening.

"Moving the Goalposts" redefines the cliché of "a rollercoaster of emotions." In amidst the emotions of happiness, sadness, frustration, elation, regret and rejoicing that the author connotates, two clear and emphatic feelings shine through.

Firstly, just like attending the various displays of solidarity like the Reclaim the Game rally or the recent Red and Green breakfast, Mark Courtney reminds you of how great is to be a South Sydney supporter.

Secondly, but lastingly, "Moving the Goalposts" reminds us fellow Souths supporters of how great it's going to feel to be watching the cardinal and myrtle run around next season.

And if you're like me and want to stand next to Mark and Greg next season at every game, hurling abuse, banging heads and giving running commentaries, then our intrepid author is going to have to reserve more than 15 seats.

He'll need an entire bay. And after releasing a book as inspiring as this, maybe they'll name one after him.

Anth Courtney is a chronic Rabbitohs fan and co-developer ofThe Rabbitoh Warren - the unofficial but supreme South Sydney website.

Moving The Goalposts by Mark Courtney is published by Halstead Press and is available from most good book shops for $24.95.


*    visit the Souths homepage

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 60 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Turning Tides
ACTU President Sharan Burrow reflects on the disappearance of the middle class and what the union movement can do about it
*  Unions: Fear and Loathing in Wollongong
For four days this week, too much unionism was barely enough. We bring you the highs and lows from behind the scenes and inside the bars of this week’s ACTU Congress.
*  Politics: The Group Hug
Opposition leader Kim Beazley came, saw and conga-ed. Here's what he said to the ACTU Congress.
*  History: Unions and Family Trees
Trade union records may not be the first port of call for a beginning family historian, but down the track a little, these records could bring to life an ancestor who previously was just a name printed on the page.
*  International: Fiji Bans Lifted
Fiji employers are expected to start reinstating all their workers over the next week, now that Australian union bans have been lifted at the request of the local union leadership.
*  Review: Room to Manoeuvre
Full employment with a highly skilled well-paid workforce is a realistic goal for Australia, despite the supposed constraints of globalisation.
*  Satire: Satan Subpoenaed To Cricket Inquiry
The King Commission of Inquiry into cricket match-fixing yesterday heard evidence from Satan that he never influenced Hansie Cronje to accept bribes.

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»  NSW School Staff Ban GST Work
»  Workers Online Wins ACTU Media Award
»  Update: Computer War Hots Up
»  STOP PRESS: Pay Equity Decision Handed Down

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  None the Wiser for History
»  Virtual Kelty
»  The Burke and Wills Syndrome
»  Rally for Refugees
»  industrial Gazettes Looking for a Home
»  Sharan Burrow at the IPAA

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