Over the last couple of days, I have been spending some time with a very old friend from my college days. Hard to believe someone has been your friend for over 45 years.
She was speaking quite strongly about professional sport and how they “chew the young athletes up and spit them out”. A little later, she was speaking the same way about talent shows.
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It set me on a deep contemplation, looking at the world as it is right now and noticing the extraordinary rate and magnitude of change that is overwhelming entire societies, perhaps the whole world.
There are a couple of things that are clear to me, after years of study, covering formal studies in education, to a deep interest in a variety of religious teachings (out of curiosity. I am way beyond salvation), and 15 years studying human consciousness in a deep and expansive way.
First, if you want to know what someone is guilty of, just listen to what they are accusing others of, and I mean accusing! Second, if someone is telling you how other people should be treated, they are probably revealing a deep longing for how they believe they should be treated.
I have been in the elite sports system. When I was 15, I tried out for the under 19’s at Collingwood Football Club. I made the list. When I was 19, I tried out for the senior list at Fitzroy Football Club. I was the last player cut on the Tuesday before the first game. Then when I was 23, I was in the squad of 22 for The All Australian Amateurs Football Team. I was invited to the Guernsey Presentation dinner and had to endure the humiliation of being the only one to not get a Guernsey. It took me years to finally celebrate that I got to be in the top 22 of many thousands of players across Australia.
So, I know what it is like to both “make it” and be “spat out”.
Did the “spit out” destroy me? Not at all. Some might say, “Oh yes, but you are a strong person. Others might not fare as well as you”. I am not sure where these people attained their psychology degrees, but alas, their opinions are just an opinion.
The truth. I experienced deep, agonizing, and traumatic humiliation. I was gutted. And I spent some time feeling that way. I went through all the emotions from embarrassment, to anger to my favorite “I’ll show ‘em”. But I got there. I came out the other side, appreciating how far I had gotten before failure. It gave me a powerful perspective on life.
So lucky I didn’t drink or do drugs. It could have gotten messy.
But even though I would have preferred to have made the teams, I am so glad I had those experiences. They taught me humility, perspective, and resoluteness. It helped me grow into a mature and resilient adult.
Later, when I was working in High Performance roles, it gave me the wisdom I needed to support many an elite athlete through their struggles and their failures.
Should I have been protected from the harshness of those experiences? How could I have been? Someone had to tell me I was not going to be able to have what I wanted. There is no way to soften that.
I told my friend that if the AFL wanted to make sure nobody’s feelings got hurt, they would need a competition of about 600 teams and the standard of the game would be terrible.
Fred Hollows told a friend of mine, “The purpose of life is for us to help each other.” That is a beautiful perspective and I agree.
My belief is that the purpose of life is for us to grow and evolve. And I guess that can be more effectively achieved if we are prepared to help each other.
So having shared all of that, I want to step into a sensitive area.
In this 21st century, we have taken things to an astoundingly idiotic level. It seems there are folks in society who want to be able to protect everyone from everything. It as if they want to go into a war where there are real bombs and real bullets but make a rule that nobody is allowed to get hurt.
We have created a hypersensitive ten kilometre no-go zone around creating any form of offense, either intended or unintended. We are not allowed to hurt anyone’s feelings. But more than that, we have to become hyper vigilant to ensure that we never do anything to hurt anyone’s feelings.
But let’s take it further, we also must make sure that we take a moment to recognise everyone we meet for who they are because if we do not do that properly we may offend them.
So, we can be creating offense by either commission, or omission. I am not sure I have the necessary level of attention focus to pull that off.
There is an old saying. And I do apologize for the use of a single gender, but I am quoting the saying. This is apparently a very old saying that may have dated back to Roman times.
“Hard times create strong men.
Strong men create easy times.
Easy times create weak men.
And, weak men create hard times.”
I have no doubt that for any of us to grow and evolve, we have to take on something that challenges us. We need something that scares us a little, something we perhaps at times don’t even want to do.
When we take something on like this, we then must harness our will, which is a quality of our spirit. It is the part of us that makes the most powerful decisions. It is not the mind. Our mind can use its imagination or speak to motivate the will, but it is not the will. When we awaken our will, we then begin to operate from a place that is not our mind. We begin to discover who we really are. This is rarely easy. But it is the pathway to personal evolution.
There are two general classifications of hard. One is the things we choose ourselves. The other comprises the things that come at us from our circumstance or from other people.
If we are a genuinely good human being with a dedication to growing and evolving, we will take both as opportunities to learn and develop ourselves. We may need to learn to speak more eloquently, or to think more quickly. We may need to learn acceptance and realise tough things happen. We may need to learn compassion for the people who do not treat us well and not have their carelessness or bad intentions to disrupt our lives.
I remember my Dad coming into the dining room one night and giving me a clip over the ear. It was my brother who had been playing up, but he escaped the punishment and I paid for his sins. I was outside a while later feeling upset and dejected when my Dad came along. My mum had told him it wasn’t me.
He didn’t apologize at all. He just said, “Well mate. Life is going to do that to you many more times. Are you going to take it like a man or let it break you?” It didn’t make me feel better, but the next time something unfair happened, I was more prepared for it.
So why are entire societies falling into the trap of trying to make everything fair and to go soft on people to make sure nobody’s feelings get hurt? I have my theory which I will share with you.
Think about what is happening.
In junior sport, everyone gets a trophy. The kids who demonstrate great talent are not to be recognised for their skills.
People don’t want to be an assigned gender, so we all must learn a new way of speaking to cater to them.
Employers can no longer select the best talent if doing so would create evidence of a lack of diversity or inclusion.
Traditional Courting behaviors are almost too dangerous to engage in due to them being misconstrued as sexual harassment.
Masculine people with just about every aspect of their physiology being “male”, who identify as female, are being permitted to use female change rooms and bathrooms, and to compete in women’s sport.
There are two areas that I believe deserve some discussion.
First, there is a thing called Power. You know the saying, “Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”. Power is a funny thing that can easily inflate an ego and turn a person into a dominating despot. Power can bring out our nastiest and most psychopathic tendencies. It gives is a chance to gain revenge for all those times we felt powerless.
We see it with Politicians all the time. They get elected to a position of “service” They are meant to be serving. But they quickly turn into rulers, and lose all connection with service, honor, and goodness. Many become liars and scoundrels.
A great way for any person to seize some power is to find a soap box and grab the moral high ground on some topic. They can step into the realm of self-righteousness and “holier than thou”. They quickly assume the role of moral police, dictating to everyone how they “should” be behaving.
The reason this has no substance, and why it is dangerous, is that such folks have assumed the moral high ground without ever taking the arduous and often humiliating personal journey of self-inspection, confession, and ownership of wrongs to earn the badge of a moral human.
It is sad to see a person go down such a path and waste a life. Instead of courageously doing the work themselves, they prefer to point out everyone else’s faults as per their perspective on how life should be.
This is perhaps the most degrading and rotting “no growth zone” of them all. These people should be called out at every opportunity because their intentions are not honorable. They are power drunk idiots and scoundrels.
The second group are a nicer bunch. They are just so trapped in their own fear of failure that they want to protect everyone else from failure. They are good people who are frightened into bad actions. Perhaps they are stuck in a job they hate but cannot summon the courage to take the financial risk of going after what lies in their heart.
You can help these people by asking them what they are frightened of? Ask them what they are seeking to protect themselves from. Take your time. Buy them a coffee or a beer and create a friendly space where they can get honest with themselves.
You see, here is my take on it.
I do not care what your gender is, what you identify as or what your pronouns are. I want to know what good you are here to contribute to humanity. That is all. I also want to know that you are going to be honorable and that you are not going to take advantage of anyone or hurt anyone.
I probably won’t use your pronouns because I do not want to take my attention off more important things to try to cater to your over sensitive ego. But if I must, then you better use the pronouns I choose for myself: Ruckman/Fast Medium Bowler.
We are living in “Soft Times”, and we are doing our very best to create “Soft People”. That does not herald well for the future.
And if you happen to be working with young people, have their back and support them to discover their unique talents and skills because one day, the world is going to need them. Instead of protecting them from failure, help them find their wins.
A Final note. I do apologise if my article upset you or made you angry. That is not my intention. My intention is to do whatever I can to see my grandsons grow up as free men, unencumbered by Woke, Marxist dogma and the laws it brings.
Such is Life.
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Well said John. Sports, especially team sports, are great places to learn life lessons for youngsters. We have to protect the things that we hold dear and that build strong communities or they will be gone before we know it. Time for all of us to wake up and decide what we stand for.
Wonderful writing JT. Far from angry and upset, your contemplations are fully supportive of my own moral code . The commentaries that accompany my daily Bible Readings tell me there are hundreds of articulate substackers like you ,all trying to lead by example and the best example is expressed in the first 2 Commandments of God. These Commandments apply to every second of our lives and do involve TOUGH LOVE. SvG