Lately, the more I read the news or listen to the radio the more I shriek at how we have begun to lose our identity and our values as a nation. A government that won’t listen to its people, one bad decision after another, shonky deals to hold on to power leading to this feeling that we are losing our way. We are a proud nation, founded on principles that have made this country rich, modern, educated and a very comfortable place to live. Our nation’s philosophy founded on mateship, a fair go and built on solid foundations, foundations that value equality and a high sense of worth and above all a quality of life.
A government, a company, an association any governing entity must operate based on a philosophy of holistic principles and when those principles are compromised for self-interest a new culture begins to form. Like politics, football you can say follows a similar path. If we lack a philosophy, a principle on why it exists? what it is for? and what are its values? then there is no real direction within the game. What is the direction based on a philosophy that includes values, moral and ethical standards to govern by? What we get is a game with band-aid solutions constantly being conjured up by those who lack a thorough understanding of the game and hence unable to develop a specific football culture that drives the game in the right direction.
We lack a thorough constitution, a “declaration of independence”. A document that gives us a clear road map. A road map that has a beginning a middle and an end, a map that guides us and inspires us to make our game worthy of our traditions, of past cultural identity and history. As the old saying goes you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.
Football is organic and has to be cultivated, much like a tree needs strong deep foundations (roots) to grow! You wouldn’t start building a house unless you had a plan if you had bricks and you began to lay them down without a plan and someone asked you what you were doing, and you said building a house they would think you were crazy, well to a certain extent that’s what our national body has done!
Over and over I read and I hear that our game needs this and that. The fact of the matter is the game has no real road map, no proper “declaration of independence”. The foundations (grassroots) are there but they are infested with termites, so badly decayed that as it stands the tree can never grow the way it is meant to!
Unless we begin to instil a blueprint for where we want this game to head, the game will never truly to take its rightful place as Australia’s number one sport. As much as the other sports would like to debate it, they have nothing on football, football is more than a game, more than a sport, it’s culture, it’s a community, it’s a passion, it’s mateship and it deserves a fair go!