Nature vs Nurture and the CFC

Ben Santamaria

24 March 2011

Our first born was due late December last year. During the pregnancy there was much talk of a Christmas baby and swaddling clothes and a manger. As it turned out, Henry arrived a month early and had to settle for a Kenny Hunter jumper and an incubator (actually a hot-bed, but you’ll excuse me the poetic licence).

During his first four months, my wife, Lex, and I have been constantly exploring the “nature” versus “nurture” debate as we consider how we will raise him. This primarily arises when she emails me photos during the day of my boy dressed in bloomers and cardigans.

The earliest footballers did wear lace-up guernseys (almost cardigans, you could say) and strange shorts though, so I ought not be too concerned.

The debate was flipped on its head however, when I asked Lex whether Henry could stay up late with me tonight to watch his first Carlton game in his Kane Lucas jumper (just as I was a Stephen Edgar fan in my early days after Kenny retired, Henry will be a Kane fan through the age-old tradition that is the hand-me-down). Lex suggested that perhaps, left to his own devices (ie “nature”), Henry may not be a Blue and that I was allowing “nurture” to play too strong a hand.

Henry’s great-great-grandfather emigrated from the Aeolian Islands in Italy to Carlton over one hundred years ago and was a Blue. His great-grandfather attended Princes Park for over seventy years, walking from his home during the earlier years. His grandfather played footy with dual Carlton premiership captain (and current AFL chairman) Mike Fitzpatrick in an illustrious career (references required). His father’s kicking style mirrors that of Jon Dorotich.

He comes from a proud Carlton family.

As we sit down tonight to watch his first game, me wearing my old Craig Bradley, Henry wearing my very old Kenny Hunter, it might well be seen as “nurture”, but there is no doubt in my mind that, with his heritage, “nature” would have directed him the same way.

With all the champions.


  1. John Butler says

    Choice? Does she think this is a democracy? :)

  2. If Henry (in a radical moment) decides he would like a black guernsey with a yellow sash and a No. 8 on the back, just let me know – GO Tigers!!

  3. Jack Fajgenbaum says

    What’s football? What’s Carlton? Where do I find nature?

  4. Jack? Was that really you? Sounds more like Dark Helmet in Spaceballs.

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