Money

I am soooo over money. What I mean to say is that I am sooooo over money being used as a defining factor is considering the purpose and meaning of life.

Money is the white noise of life. However, it feels like white noise has become the signal, the frequency and the currency of our times. To borrow a quote (thanks Mr PB) it was Oscar Wilde who, 100 years ago, asked the following question, what is a cynic? His answer: a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Robert Kennedy was concerned about the same imbalance in his famous speech from 40 years ago. He said, “We seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things … the gross national product does not include the beauty of our poetry … it measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile”.

I am thinking about such things as I wade through the muddy waters of whether Buddy Franklin will stay at Hawthorn or be lured to another club. The central conceit, it seems, of the decision will be money. Fuck money.

To be clear, I would dearly love Buddy to stay at Hawthorn and mostly because of things I think are important, like loyalty and such. I have little interest for Brereton’s footy narrative after his time with Hawthorn. In fact, I think it stains a much better story that now, can never be told, relived and shared (campfire style) forever on. And I’m not referring to the public telling of his story. I’m talking about how his story could have been (would have been) told within the club itself. It’s not the be all and end all of course, but it is part of a fabric that I believe is more important and much more durable than polymer substrate, which forms the base fabric of money.

Having said that, whatever Buddy decides, the sun will still come up tomorrow and I will continue to barrack for the mighty Hawks. It is not Buddy’s fault that this obscene immorality play is taking place and we all feel the need to play a part. In that sense, we are all pawns, wittingly or unwittingly in a dance of the veils to the gross god mammon. And it makes me sick.

Imagine if money had lured John Lennon from The Beatles in 1965 to Herman’s Hermits. What would the history of popular music look like today? History wouldn’t be changed considerably of course, but it wouldn’t be the wonderfully multilayered story it is and that’s for sure.

There are things that money can’t buy. And, as Robert Kennedy, John Lennon and Oscar Wilde before him said, more eloquently and simply than me, they are the things we really value in a life well lived.

About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day

Comments

  1. Grant Fraser says:

    I blame the manager…for whom did he play again?*

    *flippant comment warning

  2. I feel your pain brother. However, Bill Howard once answered a question about why he wasn’t going to run as an amateur and try for the Australian Olympic team (shortly after he’d won his second Stawell Gift). He simply said “You can’t eat gold medals.”

    Your mistake is thinking that big time sport is about honour and the beauty of the contest. Its not. Its just another product to sell. I realised this when the AFL sponsored Gary Ablett’s move to QLD.

  3. We4ll said Rick. My Dogs have been cruelled by the lure of the $ over the years. Chris Grant’s situation in 97 was the only time that greed didn’t prevail over loyalty. We know your frustratiion all too well at Whitten Oval

    PS Lennon to Hermins Hermits. Geez I love that. Imagine if record companies could poach players like that. Mick Jagger to Emerson Lake and Palmer or Roger Waters to Supertramp!!! Can you imagine Rog doing harmonies to ‘take a look at my girlfriend’)

  4. If Hawthorn were smart, they’d try and take free agency out of the equation and just do a deal with GWS… and come out on front.

    Why, because GWS will pay overs in terms of talent, because they need his ‘profile’ every bit as much as what he brings on the field.

    You could get a Tom Boyd, a classy young on-baller, a first-round draft pick and cap-space to chase other players.

  5. Rick Kane says:

    Cheers and understand.

    I should make it clear that this piece is not about Buddy. It could easily relate to The Little Master or Cloke or whoever. And if there is a reason or reasons (beyond the pretty greens) that Buddy or whoever would move on then good on them. In that case, I like to think Gary Jnr was moving for more than the moola. But maybe I’m projecting my romantic view of him understanding the historic significance of leading a new side through the wilderness and into the light.

    Whatever the case, my moan was more to do with how money dominates the argument.

    Dips, I’m happy to see things (mistakenly) through the value of honour, beauty and community. It’s got me this far.

    Cheers

  6. Dave Nadel says:

    Money doesn’t just dominate, Rick. It complicates. I’m pretty sure Garry Jnr was motivated by more than just money in his move to Gold Coast but because of the large amount of money involved we will never know. We know that money wasn’t the only factor in Cloke’s case because if it was he would not be at Collingwood today. Even before free agency there were players who swapped clubs for money (e.g Peter Moore), for the opportunity to play in a premiership winning side, (e.g Gary Dempsey), because they didn’t get on with the coach (e,g Corey McKernan) or because their previous side didn’t want them (e.g. Craig Davis after an injury).

    Fans’ disappointment about players changing clubs preceded the Professional Era. Collingwood fans never forgave Dan Minogue for abandoning Victoria Park for a Captain-Coach position at Punt Road. When Ron Barassi did the same thing to Melbourne in 1965 the outrage from the Demons was louder than Collingwood’s had been over forty years earlier.

    However Clubs have shown even less loyalty to players than players have to clubs. I don’t think Hawthorn are in much of a position to complain if Buddy follows the dollar. In 1980, before the era of full professionalism, Hawthorn swapped Tony King and Mark Scott for Russell Greene, virtually overnight. The players were not really given an opportunity to refuse the trade. The fact that both Hawthorn and Greene benefited from the change does not make it any less a case of the two clubs treating the players like cattle.

  7. pauldaffey says:

    Rick,

    I think the Dermott case is interesting because he’s considered a Hawthorn person through and through despite playing at two other clubs. It’s as if he didn’t play for those clubs, which to an extent is true. He could barely put one foot after the other, which is why Hawthorn wanted to cut his pay in the first place.

    It’s because no one gave more for Hawthorn during his time there than Dermott. The players and coaches loved him for it. He felt the club didn’t reciprocate what he had given them and so he left. He knew he had given his all. He felt a new adventure
    coming on.

    I understand the argument that you play for something larger than yourself, and those who play for one club are more likely to experience that, but in Dermott’s case I reckon he went with the club’s best wishes rather than whisperings about his loyalty.

    Given his current status as a Hawthorn person, that seems to be the case.

  8. The Wrap says:

    The real villain here is the AFL for setting up these un-required expansions clubs in the first place, and giving huge financial advantages. They add nothing to the Competition, nothing to The Game and everything to management ego at Jellymont House.

    I actually agree with Litza: a preemptive strike. Wins all round, and it might even frighten the opposition off. Or bring Buddy to his senses. Marque players don’t have a good track record at Breakfast Creek. Not to mention that it can be pretty lonely out there in the West playing with a bunch of kids in front empty stands & terraces.

    Or maybe that’s what he wants – anonymity. He’ll certainly get plenty of it up there.

    But is that what AD wants. He wants him teaching kids how to handball, how to kick, how to mark, and how to be a fine upstanding citizen. He wants exposure for his buck. Maybe AD & Buddy should revisit the trajectory of the last ambassador they trumpeted out there in the Shadows of The Blue Mountains.

    All that aside – how much money does he need?

    Now they’re after Dusty Martin. You spend years in the wilderness building up a team of youngsters. Then years developing and nurturing these young players – and Dusty has needed all the nurturing he could get on several scores. The Mums adopt them, the kids sew on their numbers – then someone waves a cheque book and all bets are off.

    And they wonder why people lose interest.

    G. Ablett Jnr was a different case. I know hindsight comes in handy, but he saw himself growing into the leadership role. Only time will tell, but I’m not sure that’s the sort of sea change Buddy’s seeking, or even anticipating.

  9. The Wrap says:

    Funny you should bring up Danny Minogue Dave. i remember my folks telling me – as I absorbed the Tiger Lore – about the day Collingwood got stuck into Danny. No blood rule in those days and the claret was poring out of him. Yet he still stuck his thumbs in his ears, extended his tongue and waggled his fingers at the eighteen tormentors who had set upon him. Challenging them to do their best. A different era, eh Dave.

  10. Mark Doyle says:

    Another arrogant comment about non-Victorian AFL clubs from ‘The Wrap’. His ridiculous reference to un-required expansion clubs demonstrates a complete lack of respect to the fans of these clubs and extreme arrogance. Presumably he is desirous of maintaining the existence of several garbage Melbourne clubs which are and will continue to be not financially viable.
    The article about ‘Money’ is a bit silly because money is the basis of Australian society. In the last 30 odd years Australian society has developed a culture where the most popular philosophy of life is secular materialism. This philosophy has resulted in a society where 90% of people are financially well-off and there is an attitude of apathy, complacency and narcissism. If people do not like this culture, then do something about it or do some volunteer work in Nepal as I will be doing in November after travelling to Egypt for four weeks in October.
    With respect to professional AFL footballers and notwithstanding that they are reasonably well paid compared to most working class people in Australia, most of them are not well paid compared to Australian sports people in sports such as cricket, golf, tennis, road cycling, car and motor bike racing and soccer.
    With respect to the loyalty issue of AFL footballers, their only responsibility for loyalty is the term of their current contract. To suggest that transferring to another club for a bigger pay packet is immoral is nonsense. There is also nothing new about this mercenary attitude: in the 1930’s Haydn Bunton snr. stood out of VFL football because of the infamous coulter law; Bunton then transferred to a WA club after 5-6 years in the VFL for more money; Ron Todd left Collingwood to play with Williamstown for more money; Bob Rose left Collingwood in the 1950’s to play for Wangaratta Rovers in the O&M League for more than double the money – Bob Rose said that it was equivalent to winning Tattslotto; Doug Wade and Leigh Colbert, who were captains at Geelong left for more money to play with North Melbourne in 1974 and 2000 respectively; Gary Ablett jnr. left Geelong in 2010 for a ‘tattslotto’ offer.
    The opinions of most fans to this mercenary culture of AFL players are generally nothing more than irrational and hysterical.

  11. Kath Presdee says:

    I think one of the reasons why there’s a disconnect between fans and players about movements and money is that the fan is probably far more invested in the team, over a long period of time, than the player is.

    Because of the draft, the team that a player grew up supporting and admiring is unlikely to be the team they play for. They, like all of us, enter into a contract of employment with their club which can be ended on the basis of performance (or lack thereof), misconduct, or just not fitting the needs of the team anymore. Loyalty is not always a reciprocal arrangement at contract time.

    Like many of us, the money on offer can be a reason for a player to stay or go. Like many of us, the intangible feelings in the workplace – camaradie with colleagues, pride in achievements – can be a reason for staying or going.

    Fans’ connections with their clubs last a lifetime. Players, if they’re lucky, can get 10 years. Fans’ connections with their clubs are based on heart, not just head.

    I think it’s great that some players choose to be a one club player. I also think it’s a concern when players turn their back on a club that has invested above and beyond in them as a player and then goes to another team. But we’ve got to keep things in perspective and not vilify a player because he’s after a better deal when, realistically, there may be other factors at play that we don’t know about.

    For what it’s worth, I think Buddy is better off at Hawthorn. GWS need a key defender and a ruckman before they need another forward… I think Buddy’s contract is out a year too early; our midfield needs to grow up a little bit more.

    Oh and since Dustin Martin played junior footy with Campbelltown when he was living with his Dad in Western Sydney, GWS probably have the next best “claim” on him after Richmond.

  12. Rick Kane says:

    Thank you to all who have responded to my attempt to articulate something in the pit of my stomach that is probably more closely aligned to Edvard Munch ‘Scream’ than Bentham principles.

    I would like to respond to a couple of the comments made.

    Hi Daff,

    Very good points re Brereton. That is why I put his story forward as a case study. In an Utopian world, Dermie (other teams have their equivalent) does not go off to another club. That story is 1000 times more compelling.

    (Please note: I’m not making judgement of players of any era leaving their first club in search of something – monetary or otherwise – better). My concern is that we are being swallowed into a new mindset that is not (IMHO) as appealing as available alternatives.

    Hi Mr The Wrap

    How much money does he or any of us need is precisely the question. The trigger for my piece was reading and listening to and viewing an endless parade of ‘analysis’ of Buddy based sorely on the money involved. I don’t have a problem with people wanting to make money. I do have a problem with the logic of money as the core value that drives creativity. It doesn’t work. Tom Waits might not make as much money as Justin Beiber but only an idiot is going to argue that Beiber contributes more value to culture than Waits.

    Hi Kath

    Really good points. In a way you reinforce the point of my piece. I believe a player has a complex set of considerations when thinking about their future at their current club or what lies beyond. However, the media (at least what I consume) reduce it to a monetary problem. And that’s what shits me.

    Hi Dave

    Or, as Dylan said, money doesn’t talk, it screams. I didn’t mean to imply that this was a new thing. That’s why I cited quotes from 40 and 100 years ago. However, the focus of money as the primary bargaining tool has increased as the sport has become more professional. But has the intellectual appreciation of sport as a significant measure of national identity matured in line with the professionalization of sport? That’s where my barely articulate piece was probing?

    Hi Mr Doyle

    I won’t contest your opinion about whether this piece is silly or not. The fact that you engaged it so rigorously says something of its silliness or yours.

    I will call you on one point. That is, your claim that “money is the basis of Australian society”. You are not expressing a fact (even though you write it as if it is) merely an opinion. I would argue that democracy is the basis of our society and capitalism (rather than money) is a system within our democratic structure. In fact, I would go on to say that the point of my piece is that I fear (rightly or wrongly) capitalism is overgrowing democracy as the principle based reason for being.

    As I said, thank you for your responses.

    I should add, Buddy kicked 8 goals tonight to remind us all of his value to the Hawks and the game. A value that cannot be quantified monetarily.

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