Hindsight….it’s a beautiful thing

By Neil Anderson

Whenever I check the Almanac’s website for the latest offerings and before I have a go at writing myself, the first thing I see written in bold lettering is, ‘Write From The Heart’.

This credo is evident in most pieces and none more-so than articles by JT Harms.

I have finished reading John’s piece about Emily Seebohm being distraught after missing out on gold at the olympics. I read most of the followup comments ranging from ‘she’s lucky just to be at the olympics’ to insinuations she was a ‘bit of a princess’.

In line with the ‘writing from the heart’ bit, the comment that struck a chord with me was, ‘She’s not even old enough to put it into perspective’.

The best thing I saw on TV was seeing her proud mother saying, ‘Of course I’m proud of her. I can’t wait to give her a big hug.’

John also mentioned the South Korean fencer crying and alone on the piste after losing her match by a second. John was concerned she seemed so alone as he wondered again why professional sport had come to this following the more relaxed gentile days of amateur sport. Being slightly harder of heart, I was wondering who she would have to face when she arrived back home.

Which brings me to my point about how older people view young athletes and their disappointments. For us older people, it probably depends how our own parents reacted to our wins and losses when we were kids.

It sounds like John’s father was at least encouraging towards his sons in their sporting endeavours. A fairly healthy perspective about winning and losing passed on to his sons.

Unfortunately my father took a negative approach, probably because of his own upbringing. As I tried desperately to become a footballer, cricketer and tennis player, ‘ Captain Realistic’ would give it to me straight how I was unlikely to make it. ‘Your kicking’s not good enough’ or ‘You can’t handle the fast bowling.’

In his own warped form of logic, he probably thought he would get in early before I faced the enevitable disappointments along the way. He took the same approach with my education as I struggled along as an average student. For example, ‘If you can get through Year 10 it will have to do. None of our family ever went any further than that.’

I was well into adulthood before I could shake off that negative attitude, complete my education and start achieving. I was 50 before I had the courage to try writing short-stories which then led me to write one-act plays.

When I see Emily Seebohm crying because she didn’t win gold, I look past her to see her family smiling and cheering in the stands, all ready to give her a huge hug. That’s when I realize how lucky she is. All she needs is another forty years of hindsight to appreciate it too.


  1. Great piece Neil, good to always get a reminder of what impact the words of a parent can have. The balance between realism and encouragement can still be managed in talking to a child. I coach some junoir football players who are no good at all, but they are getting exercise and running around with their mates. What if I lost it with them, told them they’d never make it, when all they want to do is have a kick around. Most peopel don’t make it, but if everyoen who wasn’t going to be an AFL footballer gave up at 10 or 12, life woudl be full of a lot less peolel enjoying the game or staying fit.
    Glad you lost the negative and did what you wanted, good yarn.


  2. Mulcaster says

    Channel nine doesn’t seem to show footage of stoic atheletes who accept the result and move on. It doesn’t make for good television. It is particulaly stupid on a human level to stick a microphone into someone’s face while they are still trying to get their breath. But the measured response or even calm reflection is not what they are after. They want emotion. If they can’t scream Gold, Gold, Gold then find raw emotion. Emily Seebolm wont need much time to realise how terrific her achievement is. Whoever chose Ray Warren to call the swimming should be sent to a prison camp, placed in a dark cell with a recording of his “call’ replayed to them for ten months.

  3. Agreed Mulcaster.
    Ray “Rabbit” Warren is a fool and a punt drunk. Don’t mind that – been there done that.
    But he takes the Ch9 and Leagues Club $ to bag sensible limits to reduce harm for the pokie desperates (and there are tens of thousands of victims – just ask Nathan Hindmarsh – he coughed to $200k which is probably a quarter of the real figure).
    Warren is a dope and a scumbag. I don’t mind character flaws – we all have them – but he is a Grade A Hypocrite.
    Should be calling the Dapto Dogs not the Olympics.
    Personally I blame him for our swimming debacle.

  4. Peter-B I am with you entirely on the pernicious evil that is poker machines. Put simply it is voluntary taxation. The theory of large numbers demonstrates the hopelessness of any “problem gambler”. In Queensland in the last financial year the state government received almost one billion dollars in gambling taxes. The machines are programmed to return something like 90 cents in the dollar. Assuming that a punter puts $100.00 through the punter will statistically get back $90 (depending on the macjhine usually 85-92). Where the theory of big numbers kicks in is when the punter “reinvests”his return. The reutrn on $90.00 statistically is $81 and on and on. But the statistics relied upon by the industry will continue to show a 90% return despite the fact that the punter is down $19, Each state in the commonwealth needs poker machine revenue. The greatest villians sit in well appointed offices in State treasury departments.

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