How Do We Explain?

Looking across a couple of news websites today I’ve seen a common theme.

“How do I explain this to my 10-year-old son?”

“I was ashamed to explain to my nine-year-old son this morning that we had planned to cheat.”

It seems parents are agonising over how to explain the Australian cricket cheating scandal to their children.

For those not in Australia and therefore not having their newsfeeds swamped with stories of the unimaginable horror of the latest scandal to rock the sports world, here’s the very shortened version of ball tampering by the Australia national cricket team.

Cameron Bancroft was charged with alleged ball tampering on 24 March 2018 when videos showing him rubbing and then concealing a suspicious yellow object emerged during day three of the third test against South Africa, at Newlands Stadium. Captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft accepted the ball tampering allegation in front of Andy Pycroft, the match referee, and press. – wiki

How do we explain to a child that a game that’s meant to be played fairly and by the rules isn’t always as fair as it should be? How do we tell our children that their heroes aren’t heroes after all?

Of course, we should be able to expect more from those who represent our country and yes, it’s not easy to explain these things to a child.

But as I read these articles I’m left wondering too.

How do we explain to our kids that there are around 400 million children, just like them, that are living in extreme poverty in our world today? How do we explain that millions of young people around their age don’t know if they’ll even eat today?

How do we explain to them that today there’ll be roughly 15,000 children under the age of five who will die from preventable causes? How do we tell them that tomorrow there’ll be another 15,000 who will die, then another 15,000 the next day, the day after and the day after that? How do we tell our children that ‘preventable’ means that we have all the resources, all the know how, but as a world community we refuse to step up and stop those deaths?

Are we agonising over how we explain the horrors of war where children their age are killed daily? Do we struggle to find the words to explain why children are locked away in detention centres under Australia’s watch?

I don’t think we struggle to explain any of these things to our children. We don’t struggle because there really is no explanation as to why we continue to allow these things to go on. We don’t struggle because we choose to simply not have those kinds of conversations.

There’s no agonising over explaining these kinds of horrors to our children because these matters are obviously not as important to us, or as earth-shaking, as some highly paid sportsmen breaking the rules.

How could I ever explain that to a child?

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When did the Olympics start? I think it was a few weeks back but it’s starting to feel like months.

I have to admit that I watched a fair bit of the opening ceremony but since then I’ve just seen updates in my news feeds or on telly. I’ve never been a big Olympic Games watcher but I think I’ve seen less than ever this time around and I think I know why.

The format is tired.

Yes, there have been new sports added over the years and some older, less interesting sports removed, but it’s essentially been the same for such a long time.

The ancient Olympic Games were held from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. After that the idea was pretty much rested until Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. Sure, there were a few attempts at reviving some sort of games related to an Olympic theme along the way but they didn’t really come to much.

I reckon it’s time to freshen things up. Let’s create a mashup of the Olympics and MasterChef.

MasterAthlete. I think it’s got a great ring to it and the possibilities are endless.

We’d start with three judges including two professional athletes and an acclaimed sports writer. Then hundreds of amateur athletes would battle it out for the honour of becoming MasterAthlete 2016. The MasterAthlete would win $250 000 and the opportunity to train alongside some of the greatest professional athletes in the world. They’d also be given a monthly column in Muscle & Fitness Magazine.

Contestants would talk endlessly about their ‘sports dream’ and about ‘doing this for their family’ (even though the competition would mean they’d have to be away from their family for several months). They’d talk about the pressure and just how far they’d come on their personal ‘athlete journey’.

Week by week the black active wear would come out as contestants fought to stay in the competition during the elimination rounds. The very best would be dressed in white active wear and compete against a professional athlete for an immunity pin which would entitle them to a generous head start in their next race.

The mystery box would bring added excitement as the athletes would have no idea what sport they’d have to compete in until the box is lifted. “When the lid came off and I saw the speedos, I was terrified. My specialty is weight lifting, so to know that I’d have to go up against the others in the pool really set my heart racing.”

We’d shed a few tears as our favourites left the competition because they’d left an element out of the triathlon. “It wasn’t until we got to the finish line that I looked around at the other contestants in their clip cloppy shoes and realised …… I’d forgotten to do the cycle leg”.

Imagine contestants arriving in the Master Athlete stadium to hear the judges tell them that they had to go from one side of the city to the other. “You’ve got an open sports locker. Get there any way you like. You can combine swimming, cycling, jogging or canoeing, but remember that in today’s challenge, running must be the hero of the event. Your time starts …… now”.

So there’s the basic concept but I think we need to push it just a little further. What other ways can you think of to create MasterAthlete? Let me know in the comments section of this post. I think we’re onto a real winner.

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Self Discovery

It’s amazing what you discover about yourself.

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Eighty Years of Cycling

Russ Travers

I taught myself to ride a bike when I was 16. I was a late starter but I’ve made up for it since by riding some very long distances.

Russ Travers started a lot earlier and has now been cycling for 80 years. He’s still at it and loving it. He describes it as an addiction.

Watch the video below and be inspired by Russ and his cycling addiction.

I’ll be 96 by the time I can say that I’ve been cycling for 80 years. I only hope that whether I reach that age or not, I continue to get out and ride.

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Are you a spectator or a player?


It’s almost finals time in the AFL and for the next few weeks we’ll hear about football, football and more football.

It’s time for all the armchair critics to surface once again. Thousands of people who have watched endless games of footy on TV will come up with better game strategies than all the coaches and players.

Funny how we all suddenly become experts when we’re on the sidelines. It’s always easy to see how things can be done better and criticise those who are actually out there having a go. Why would we want to put ourselves on the line and actually do something when we find it so much easier to stay where we are and find fault?

Of course that kind of attitude isn’t just reserved for football or other sports. We see it happening in every area of life don’t we?

Those in public office need to be kept accountable but so often those trying to call our leaders to account have never bothered themselves with trying to do something to benefit the wider community themselves. With an Australian Federal Election just over a week away are we sitting on the sidelines shouting about what our politicians are doing wrong or are we working for a better, fairer country?

We like to criticise people in all kinds of leadership roles but we’re often less keen to take on the responsibilities that leaders accept. Whether it’s at work, politics, sporting clubs, churches or anywhere else, there are always those who will be prepared to give of their wisdom but not so many who will give of their time, resources and efforts.

Life isn’t a spectator sport. If you want to be one of the ones making the rules and deciding on directions, get onto the field and get involved. But beware, once you start playing you need to be ready to face the spectators who invariably think they know better.

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