One of my favourite bands is Wedding’s Parties, Anything. This week I was reminded about their iconic sports song “Monday’s experts” – where everyone has something to say and an opinion about the weekends sports. Gosh, hasn’t there has a lot being said around ball tampering.
There have been many who have highlighted that this incident is a symptom of the slow decline in the Australian Cricket of sticking to the team’s values and overall issues with the team culture. In particular, a dominant leadership team and junior team members who may not be comfortable speaking up when something is not right.
Lots of questions have also been asked like: Why did they do it? What was the end game? Is everyone doing it and were they just the first to get caught? (just like doping in cycling).
A few people observed that this is all a storm in a tea cup and reminding us that nobody died. However, the fact that people are talking about it highlights that sports players hold such a privileged position in Australian life. Our sports stars are our children’s role models. Strength Hero’s did its own straw poll and found many parents are reporting that their children are devastated, confused, disenchanted and looking for reasons why the players would do it? Conversations around leadership, judgement and team loyalty at the expense of doing the right thing. What do we tell our children?
We do need to reinforce those messages about saying something when things are not right. The need to:
play by the rules and play fair and according to our values;
use our judgement and intuition when we make our decisions; and
be prepared to be unpopular and speak up when you are not comfortable with what the team decides to do and use your own judgement. I am sure we all know that in a team if we feel uncomfortable, it usually means someone else in the team does and voicing our concern often gives others the opportunity.
There is also value in providing your children an opportunity to talk and that means just listening to your children. You don’t need to always provide answers.
Of course, as parents there is the dilemma of reality. The world of international sport is high stakes and there is lots of pressure of teams and individuals to win. A local mate who is Mr Cricket in our world got me thinking when he told me “Australia doesn’t like loosers.” We are all so quick to judge when a game is going south or leave the game early when West Coast Eagles are losing.
Our fellow strength hero Lloyd often tells me that as parents the biggest thing we want for our children is to be happy. I often wonder how many of us want them to be happy as long as they are successful? Or is being successful equated with being happy. Is there a push to be winners, to get good grades, so they can do well in life?
But at what cost? Are we as parents supporting when they lose or make a mistake?
What this week has reinforced is that making a mistake or a bad judgement is serious and there must be consequences. But do they define who we are? Do we really live in a society that allows people to make mistakes, pay the penalty, learn from them and move on?
Ask Trevor Chappell, on instruction from his brother Greg who was the Australian Cricket Team captain, he infamously bowled an underarm in 1981 in “a bid to prevent the New Zealand batsman from getting under the delivery with sufficient power and elevation to hit a six.”* A move totally in the rules but not in the spirit of sportsmanship. At least three of the major newspapers have run full page photos of Trevor looking desolute and saying, “At least I am no longer the most hated man in sport”
Have we moved on and are able to forgive…or do we like the drama?
I believe that most of us want to do the right thing and sometimes we make bad decisions. In this case, these are not bad guys, they have done the wrong thing. There is a lot of demonising occurring and finger pointing but does that really help anyone, especially the mental health of those guys involved? We need to leave our egos at the door if anything is going to change. This is a learning opportunity for all of us and chance to regroup with a stronger sense of values.
*If you are younger than me and don’t know about Underarm Incident go find out more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underarm_bowling_incident_of_1981
Does your child struggle with making a mistake?
Strength Heroes – Mistake Me – 8th April, 2-4pm at Loftus Community Centre
The next Strength Heroes workshop gives you an opportunity to creatively explore and connect with your child on the concept of Mistake Making. We will be using creative techniques such as drawing to assist everyone observe and reflect how you react when you make mistakes and give you strategies for helpful thinking to effectively deal with them.
What our participants said about Strength Heroes workshops
“Time to sit and “be” with my daughter. Provides a springboard for conversation when needed, particularly when trying to overcome hurdles” Satisfied Mum
“It is challenging but good fun and have some quality time with Mummy” Happy child