What refereeing your kids taught me about our politics

Spending my weekends being abused by kids and their parents has taught me something about what we accept as leadership.



Today finds us in less of a leadership vacuum, and more a void. There’s nothing in their but numb disappointment. Scott Morrison has seemingly rehashing his Hawaiian gaffe, fighting the coronavirus with pamphlets and his opponent, Anthony Albanese, has sided with the environment without explaining exactly how. Political corruption has been the koolest aid to sup in Canberra, as the wanton rorting in the name of sport seems to be the latest example of public fury and official inaction.

What we really don’t know, is us. The brilliance of being part of a mob—in this case, the electorate—is that it automatically garners you the ability of wilful ignorance. You can claim the other, your unknown opponent, is entirely against you. You don’t know them, but you know who they vote for, so, thusly, you know them.

I’m what you’d call an outsider, a weirdo, someone who doesn’t fit. In layman’s, I’m a social sports referee. Thus, I spend my free time being abused by your children on the uncut suburban ovals of Greater Sydney. I’m also abused by you, chased by dogs, and possess a pair of eyes to not be met. Why would you? In this country, the law is either a wanker, blind or, in certain postcodes, of a sexual preference deemed to be incorrect.

However, like most loners, I do tend to notice things. I notice you; the tableau is the same throughout. I see an identical mass, all looking to play out their own failures through new opportunity. Similarly, I see a steadfast resolution to what you believe as “tradition”—the repetition of an act that you didn’t start, or question, so you continue to allow your progeny to be mildly concussed on a weekly basis, because it happened to you.

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Tradition playing against opportunity is a theme that constantly plays out. We have a guy who presents himself as the well-meaning, albeit dorky dad. The one who is a bit off, but whose heart is in the right place. A cad masquerading as a driveway hoser. The other, presenting himself as the empathetic type, despite the obvious fact that he’s hiding apathy under a patchwork blanket of meaningful nods and soundbytes. A “pick your battles” type, he’s opting for change through safety.

Both of these types play out on the field, emanating from the sideline. And while they present differently, they will both approach you in the carpark, pulses raised, questioning what you’ve done to x and why. It’s the horseshoe theory; both types are polar opposites united by the perceived slight on their version of the future. Often, they’ll gang up on you. The thing wrong with this country, I believe, is a lack of responsibility, an inability to see the fates play out, and accept one’s part in that.

Shit, as they say, rolls downhill. We learn from our higher examples. If our elected officials lie, snipe and gleefully knife each other in the back when things look grim, the same is done by the adults, and in turn, their kids.

The football field of yesterday is but a macro example of the national problem in its totality this morning. We’re a nation of gripers, crippled by a lack of vision, an ability to put things in the proper perspective, and indeed, own up to our mistakes. The reason why the country is so very fucked, is not the fault of the elected, but rather those who have elected them. Change starts at home. Be the example you want to set. Claiming that authority figures are lousy without explaining why, and how come, is exactly why those of the lunatic fringe are now having a legitimate say in our future.

As I tell your kids, think before you respond, because this is for your benefit, not mine.




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