Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Peter Costello...

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What on earth is Peter Costello on about? It's not the first time I've asked that question, but it's the first time I've asked it related to footy.
I teach as well as write, and I LOVE footy. I've been at schools where AFL footballers have run clinics for primary school kids, and as much as it pains me to say it as the players were from Geelong, the guys have been amazing with the kids - boys and girls.
The players were positive, approachable, inspiring and encouraging, and I've raved to people about their attitude and efforts. They even accepted the kids' attempts at humour (not mine!) in good grace. I can't speak highly enough of the experience for kids and the impact it had on them.
Can I please stop now, as I really can't handle praising Geelong.
My point is, Peter Costello is WRONG. Sure, some AFL players aren't great role models, but there are others who do incredible work.
Harry O'Brien, Nick Maxwell, Daisy Thomas. Yes, they are Collingwood players and I know many other players do great things, I only pay attention to the Pies. Tragic, but there it is!
When run well, footy clinics have a lasting impact on kids and so too does a positive experience with a player.
When I was about 13, I approached my then hero for an autograph after a country practise match. I was polite, though nervous. He'd had an ordinary game and brushed me aside with a wave of his hand. I was devastated. Stan Magro - gotta love Stan - and Renee Kink -Kinky! - came to my rescue and made a fuss of me, signing autographs and chatting. I've never forgotten them for that. As for that hero...let's just say he was demoted from my duffle coat and bedroom wall!
A few years ago, my daughter approached Daisy Thomas at the end of his first season. (Okay, so I approached on her behalf, because she was too scared)  Dale was incredible with her - warm, chatty, delightful. I've dined out on that story .
So Mr Costello, sure some AFL players, like the rest of society, stuff up, but many of them do fantastic work, particularly with kids in schools.

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