AFL

On a role

An individual has many “roles” – only on stage is one completely defined by a particular “role”.

The idea that sports people are “role models” is a false premise being pushed onto society by the media.

It’s a good emotionally manipulative line to run – and no doubt it will sell papers. But the fallacy that Andrew Johns, and the unnamed AFL players from Hawthorn, have let society down because they are “role models” is wrong.

Aspiring sports stars may use them as archetypal sports models – ie I would love to be able to play football like Andrew Johns – and they could arguably be great models for drugtakers (a professional sports career seems to be one legal avenue for earning the money required to fund a recreational drug habit) but no one intelligent styles their life on these sportsmen.

Or at least, no one should.

It’s much more likely that people style themselves on elements of a number of influences – in particular parents. If people are looking to famous sportspeople for inspiration in every field (not just on the field) – then our society has a massive problem.

The NRL and AFL could easily let themselves off the PR hook when it comes to their player’s indiscretions by claiming no responsibility for their employee’s private lives. Some players may choose to act as role models through engaging in community activities and the like. But the umbrella bodies in each sport are perpetuating the problem by continuing to tout their stars as being allround good guys who everyone should aspire to.

Statistically speaking the chances of becoming a professional sportsperson are pretty slim – the number of children who genuinely have aspirations of becoming the next Andrew Johns will no doubt be disproportionate. But parents can not abdicate their basic responsibilities for the upbringing and character of their children to some pseudo nanny-state society where sports stars are surrogate parents. That’s bollocks.

The only reason that sports stars should be held accountable for their drug taking is the effect it must surely have on their ability to perform – and their long term health and wellbeing – which is the club’s responsibility.

Stable

It’s amazing the number of topics you can potentially fit under one all encompassing heading. English truly is the language of kings – diplomats can keep their French, and IT nerds their C++…

Topic 1 – Owen Wilson
Ethically speaking journalists should not report on suicides – or attempts – for fear that it encourages copycat attempts. One wonders how many young girls have shaved their heads, attacked cars with umbrellas and undergone “mental breakdowns” since Britney made it cool… but I digress – the Courier Mail ran a sidebar par on Owen Wilson’s hospitalisation under the heading “star stable” – I’m not sure he is, I think that’s the point.

Topic 2 – Equine Flu

I’m glad I’m not a horse I think I’d be sick of being stabled at the moment. I can only surmise that book keepers are the only people sicker than Australia’s horse population.

Topic 3 – AFL

Teams in the AFL are able to strengthen their stable of talent through a draft system that gives priority picks to poorly performing teams to help keep the competition on a stable keel. This presents an interesting dilemma when teams – like Melbourne and Carlton – are positioned on the table in such a way that to win the final round would be detrimental to the team’s draft opportunities. Carlton and Melbourne are on even points. They sit at 14th and 15th on the table – my understanding, and I hate AFL, is that 15th and 16th get the pick of the litter when it comes to the draft. Carlton just happen to play Melbourne in the last scheduled game of the AFL’s season proper – both teams want to lose – they can’t acknowledge that publicly of course – but this is one game of AFL that I feel compelled to watch.

There are more topics I could mention that are variations on the “stable theme” – wrestling for instance and my desire to see stables formed again to provide momentum for feuds, or my inability to surf, skate or do anything that requires a sense of balance or stability – I can’t even do a forward roll… and then there’s the fact that in just a few short weeks I will be entering the stable state of marriage – and the even keel our planning finds itself on now that invites and housing have been sorted… but I’ll leave those until next time.

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