Interview: Baby Bust
Safety: Dust To Dust
Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
International: Bulk Bullies
History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Review: The Art Of Work
Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Saving The Planet
Hang Onto the Day Job
The birth of the full time professional sportsperson has not been a mixed blessing for sportspeople and the community - it's been an unmitigated disaster.
Time was when your average sportperson played the game as a supplement to having a day job. The great trade unionist, Jack Mundey, came to Sydney to play Rugby League for Parramatta, but also worked on building sites. Time was when many Sydney residents knew that their garbage collection was in the safe hands of various Rabbitohs, Bluebags and Bears.
The Australian Football coach and player, Phil Cleary, was a big fan of players having a 'day job' outside football. He put the fitness of many players down to the fact that they had demanding physical jobs outside football.
We are in danger of producing a pile of overpaid spoilt brats. For years we've seen this in the gentlemanly pursuits of golf and tennis; viz Greg Normal and Llittle Lleyton Hewitt; tosspots both of them.
This disease of the arrogant sports star going through life with his head shoved up his arse is now infecting the major winter and summer codes.
Now the NRL is talking of 'protecting' Rugby League players from 'dangerous' situations. Strike me pink! It's the rest of the community, and not the players, which need protection. It'd help everyone if a few of these overpaid drongos were given a bit of a reality check.
I Mean, is a bloke who can kick a ball accurately really worth ten nurses or twenty teachers? If a few of these players got a chance to crawl down from their ivory towers and genuinely mix with some real people, as opposed to a hand-picked roomful of sycophants, they might, just might, learn something about how most people live.
Are you listening up the back there, Carey?!!
Somehow, all this largesse remains predominantly the domain of male sports. It will be a fine day indeed when the National Rugby League has to hold a lamington drive to pay for the Brisbane Broncos' airfares and the Australian Women's Cricket team has enough sponsorship money to travel to the World Cup.
No one is suggesting that we shouldn't pay sportspeople, it's just that it would be nice if what they were paid was kept in some perspective.
As the seasons turn and progress we now turn our sunburnt faces to autumn.
Cricket bats and pads and surfboards are thrown into the back of the garage to mould and fester until they return, smelly, in spring. It's getting time to crack out the beanies and scarves and go and have a gander at the fun in the mud.
Time to brush off the hardened mud off the boots from last year's minor semi-final loss and begin to do the forty laps at Tuesday night training. Time to start scouting for fresh talent.
Many a local football club, of various codes, will now face the headache of trying to fill various unenviable and unpopular administrative positions. They'll be trying to round up enough people to put a side on the paddock. Secretaries will be scratching their heads as to where this year's money will be coming from.
Local clubs do it tough. Ironically this is where the heart and soul of sport lies; not, as some would have you believe, in the security patrolled seats of GPO Stadium.
The Locker Room recommends that you, dear reader, are the very ones that can make a difference and take a stand against the relentless onslaught of a corporate football that insults our intelligence and community, and cheapens many a great code. What better way than to get involved at the grass roots. Your local club can always do with a hand.
It's our game - not Foxtel's; not Telstra's; not Carlton and United Brewery's. It certainly ain't the moneylenders at Wizard (let us make your money disappear!) Homeloans; parasites all. They feed on the hearts of communities and spit out blood and the hopes and dreams of little kiddies. A pox upon them all.
As they said in Paris in '68, 'don't let them take your own culture and sell it back to you'.
See you at training.
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