Blood Sports From The Sidelines

In football, as in war, blood is a call sign.

However, more often than not, the worst of injuries show no signs of crimson at all.

This morning while checking in for my morning news fix, I went cold.

My response physical to a still image of a young man being tackled by three men, his neck position all wrong.

An image, that as a spectator with kin on the professional football field I dreaded and hoped I’d never see.

Not surprisingly, today my heart (and healing prayers) go out to Newcastle Knights back rower, Alex McKinnon and his friends and family.

For sadly, they’re living every sporting family’s nightmare.

I’m not going to repost the news story, nor its imagery here. I saw it once and to be honest, it still haunts me.

When Alex walks out of the hospital I might have a change of heart, and here’s hoping that’s one day soon…

My thoughts are also with Coach Bennett, who is no doubt fighting his own demons this week having taken the rookie with him to the industrial heartland, The Chief famously claimed as ‘My Newcastle’, back in 2013.

I didn’t watch the Newcastle/ Storm game, but I knew something went sadly awry when a friend of mine, John, was vehemently chastising a Storm player for questioning a penalty after ‘the incident’.

You see, my friend John, who I have spoken about here before (and his family) have lived the blood sports nightmare.

He is also the one who pointed out to me that we should also be supporting those members of the Storm involved in the tackle.

Those guys will also no doubt be experiencing moments of guilt around the incident, wondering what they could have done differently…

Sadly, sometimes these ‘incidents’ are simply tragic accidents where ‘fault’ lines are blurred and lives of those involved changed irrevocably because a ‘sorry’ won’t fix a spinal cord.

While we are all more than a little aware of the dangers of the codes of football we treat with religious fervour in this country, none of us ever want to see a young athlete halted in his prime.

My thoughts and prayers are with the McKinnon family and their support network. I hope only good news for all of you throughout the coming weeks and months.

They are now also, thanks to John Tassone, with the Storm players who were involved especially the young McLean.

Fingers crossed for only good news for Alex from hereon in.

#1 Lyndal’s Pink Gems

What a fantastic weekend! 60km trek in searing heat (Saturday) and driving rain (Sunday) with a great team of new and old friends who valued the journey over the result, and still came in first by raising over $107,000 for the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA.
While there are more pics to follow, this is what our journey looked like:
27kms in…

27kms in

It’s not too late to donate http://sy13.endcancer.org.au/site/TR/Events/Sydney2013?px=1075822&pg=personal&fr_id=1060

Cold, Wet and NEVER giving up…

The START and FINISH lines
Start and FInish Line

Post walk bubble
Post walk Moet

It’s not too late to donate http://sy13.endcancer.org.au/site/TR/Events/Sydney2013?px=1075822&pg=personal&fr_id=1060

Baby Boomers = The Y Me Generation

I never met my great grandmother: a Russian lady, who fled to the Arts to survive a Revolution.

A woman who had to leave one son in Russia and venture across hostile waters to the far reaches of Australia, and become Italian, when she married (for the third time) motivated by nothing more than convenience, so her two ‘Australian’ charges could have a father.

A woman who sacrificed her religion, when scolded by it’s head, for nurturing two of her three children in such an environment.

Who refused to speak the King’s english, because of what he’d done to ‘Kolya’ and ‘that German woman’.

Who was reported by a neighbour to Paddington Police Station in Sydney, New South Wales. Accused of being Communist, for merely sharing her experience and opinion…

My Grandparent’s survived two World Wars.

Like most WWII survivors, they suffered to ensure their lines survived in the hope their kin would thrive.

Yet, it never fails to amaze me, how quickly we forget.

I remain confounded by how quickly we dismiss their sacrifice, as our right: especially in the case of the Baby Boomers who bemoan the woes of: not enough money for retirement and the drain of Billy, Bob and Yacov.

I never had the privilege to be nursed by my maternal grandfather – who was born German, raised Russian, spoke in native tongues and died because of his war service, as a proud Australian.

A man, my mother remembers as adorable, loving, and kind-hearted.

The same man the war office has listed as a trained assassin – an original member of the ‘Specialist’ Unit, what today they call SAS.

Conversely, my paternal Grandfather, the man I called ‘Pop’ played accordian.

During his time in service, he cooked.

For us, his time in the kitchen was as the ‘Master Maker’ of Russian Pies – a treat to all his closest family and friends.

But it was music that made this industrious factory owner stand tall. His songs of choice? The only ones I ever heard him sing, belonged to his beloved homeland: that of Mother Russia.

An irony lost on those who, like me in my youth, couldn’t fathom his origins.

My paternal and maternal grandfathers shared a life, both here and abroad.

They fought to survive and proudly served their families and both their native and refuge lands.

They embraced religion as a tool of assimilation. Despite having suffered immeasurably because of the deity of men. Over 900 years of tradition wedding them intrinsically to it.

What I respect of these men, is they knew prejudice.

Which is why they didn’t see colour, only the measure of a man as told by the truth communicated through his eyes.

Between the two of them, they’d seen horrors that even Hollywood couldn’t conjour.

How do I know all of this? It’s the stuff of family legend.

It’s also been my deep-seeded and much loved research project of the last 20 years.

Their stories I know, are documented in The Family Archives, here and abroad. Not that I’ve seen them, because for the most part, we don’t speak of it.

We live in fear of what it will reveal, who it will offend and ultimately the hazards it could spread.

While we are all recipients of legacy, how we choose to nurture it, is entirely our own.

I know my religious heritage is a mixed bag comprising: Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Catholic and Anglican.

Either and all ways, I am proud that my ancestors had faith.

Because only those who live with and in faith, can actually be faith-filled.

A social and moral value, too often under valued by those who fail to live in gratitude of their parents and grandparent’s sacrifice.

For instance, I know that I’m alive because my grandparents were either survivors of persecution or were ‘adopted’ and housed by Jews: Kept safe among them as one of their own at a time when they themselves were in peril.

I know my great-grandparents socialised with Muslims.

I’m grateful my ancestors knew the diversity of religion and the joy of many peoples.

Because of the humanity bestowed on my ancestors, their line lives on.

And now we have a choice to continue to share a legacy or hide it as though in fear.

Children should not be punished by the shortcomings of the generations that preceded them.

Neither should they ever forget what it is the generations preceeding enabled for them.

As an adult, mine is a respect for the desire and thirst for knowledge, the commitment to honour, service and a life lived well.

We each have a choice to be the best we can be.

Which we all know, is not always an easy thing.

But the truth of the matter is: you don’t have to be great to try, but you do have to try to be great.

Why Generation Next Must Be Nurtured

Tonight, I had the privilege of watching a young woman of The Women’s College within The University of Sydney bring the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall to rapturous applause and laughter.

With nothing more than astute insight and articulate delivery, 19 year old Nicola kicked off question time at Anne Summers Conversations with aplomb.

And I wasn’t the only Women’s College Alumna enjoying the spectacle from Row J ; alongside Labor heavyweights, Mr Wayne Swan and Mrs Tanya Plibersiek was Women’s College alumnae: Ros Strong and the first woman on the NSW Supreme Court, Judge Jane Matthews.

With both current and past students scattered around the Concert Hall, we caught up with the ever approachable Judge Matthews over a glass of Chandon prior to the show.

And while the iPhone pics on the Sydney Opera House forecourt failed to capture the elegance of the occasion, Dr Anne Summers and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, had it in bucket loads as they discussed treatment of women in the workplace of High Government, the prevalence of Misogyny and the tactics that worked/ failed in the face of patriarchy.

Politics aside, when you listen to Former Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard in the flesh, it really is very hard not to admire her.

For when it comes to appreciating and recognising strong, capable women and engaging through shared experience (not that I’ve ever been PM, but I have spent most of my career in male-dominated industry), when Julia talks candidly, you can’t but help prick an ear to listen intently.

For while you may not agree with what she says, it’s hard to deny just how rich chocolate caramel she can actually sound and how she can make even the most unsavoury decisions palatable.

Perhaps the true effect of her very distinctive drawl…

19 year old Law student, Nicola was wide-eyed and in a state of absolute delight on meeting Judge Matthews pre-show, however, when she kicked off question time with the PM on live television, this competent young woman did not take a backwards step.

Her instrument of choice? The confidence to ask Australia’s first female Prime Minister what advice she’d give the new Minister for Women: Prime MInister Tony Abbott.

Ms Gillard’s response was just as articulate and witty, a feature – it would appear – of the Anne Summers Conversations.

Can’t wait until the next one!

Look out for further details in Looking Glass