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Spreading The Good Stuff for……..fundraising!

posted on: November 9, 2018
in: Our blog

Our newest in-house TSW team member Katie Eldridge recently participated in the Unite to Fight fundraising event in Melbourne to support vital cancer research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, Katie underwent much of her treatment and surgery at Peter Mac – making this a cause very close to her heart.

In today’s blog, Katie shares her personal account of the importance of fundraising events like this one, and how they are making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities right across the nation…………….

 

“Even though this was the third time I’ve participated in the Peter Mac Unite to Fight event, I still couldn’t help but be overcome with that warm fuzzy feeling.

 

But it wasn’t just the overwhelming acknowledgement of the journey I had been on to reach the event that stirred my emotions.

 

It was also the stories of those around me – the feeling that I was contributing to something bigger and an immense gratitude for the incredibly generous souls that had donated money to our cause.

 

A mammoth $1.3 million was raised as part of the event this year, and it got me thinking about all the money that is donated and given to various charities every day.

 

In a world that can often seem marred by terror, hatred and evil, here was a pure example of human kindness, generosity, strength, determination and compassion.

 

I know these days it can seem like you are constantly digging your hand in your pocket for one charity after another, and in today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven society where living costs are becoming increasingly expensive and purse strings are stretched to the limit, I worry sometimes that the generosity will dry up.

 

Here in our own incredibly giving Echuca Moama community we have fundraisers for MND, Cystic Fibrosis, Community Living & Respite Services, Johnno’s Run and Girls Night Out just to name a few, let alone the various worthy national and international causes that people contribute to and I know even for myself it can sometimes seem overwhelming.

 

But what I was reminded of on that day and have learnt from my own personal experience is that there will always be kind people in the world who want to help others.

 

Particularly when someone is sick, or disaster strikes, people can often feel helpless and sometimes donating money can be the only way they know how to help.

 

And after a bit of digging this realisation of mine was only backed up by the statistics.

 

According to Giving Australia, the largest ever research effort into giving and volunteering in Australia, led by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, it was estimated that 14.9 million Australian adults gave a staggering $12.5 billion to charities and not-for-profits organisations in 2015-16.

 

That equates to about 81% of the population with an average donation of $764.08 and a median donation of $200.

 

I always knew we lived in the lucky country but how amazing is that?!

 

I have been on both the giving and the receiving end of donations and let me tell you, I know how uplifting it is when your chips are down to realise there is a tribe of people willing to raise you up and I also know how equally amazing it feels to be able to help others in their time of need.

 

So from my heart to yours, thank you. Thank you for any donations you have made or will make in the future that may seem insignificant at the time – because are truly appreciated and meaningful.

 

Even when the issues seem so big and you think what difference can I make? Believe me, every bit helps, and we cannot give up.

 

I’m not saying you need to hand over all your hard-earned cash to any old cause but when we find something we believe in, I think it is our duty as compassionate citizens to contribute. It doesn’t always have to be with money – it may be with kind words or acts of service but by choosing kindness and compassion for the people and communities around you will not only bring joy to yourself, but hope to people like me.

 

Hope, that maybe one day they’ll find a cure for cancer.

 

Hope, that together we can all make a difference not only for my cause but for so many other worthy people suffering or in need across the world.

 

Hope, that the love, kindness and compassion we share we will be contagious.

 

Hope, that we can inspire the next generation to have respect for themselves, others and the planet.

 

Because that is the kind of world I want to live in.

 

Katie for TSW xx

#spreadingthegoodstuff

It’s Mental Health Week… how do you look after your emotional wellbeing?

posted on: October 12, 2018
in: Our blog

When was the last time you checked in with your mental health? Are you not sure where to start?

If you’re struggling emotionally it’s always best to talk to someone you trust or seek help from a professional or directly access services at Lifeline, Beyond Blue or the Black Dog Institute.

Mental Health Week is a great opportunity to have a discussion about our emotional wellbeing and to check in with family and friends if you’re concerned.

When considering your own mental health there are so many tips and tools to help you to live your ‘best’ life – both physically and emotionally.

One size does not fit all when it comes to mental health, and it’s okay to admit that we don’t always know the answers and solutions, however there is abundance of help and resources out there to explore.

We’ve compiled a list of suggestions from our team here at The Splendid Word and would encourage you to take the time over the weekend to check in with yourself to ensure your mental health is in the best shape it can be.

Everyone approaches their emotional well being differently and in today’s blog we have shared what we do each day to ensure we are taking care of our own mental health.

Christy:

  1. Spending time in nature – walking my dog by the river (not just for the ‘physical’ exercise)
  2. Listening to podcasts that discuss the things that are important to me (and make me a better human)
  3. Daily guided meditation using the Calm app.

Leonie:

  1. Setting three positive intentions as soon as I wake around how I want to ‘feel’ that day.
  2. Daily meditation, yoga practice and running
  3. Evening gratitude practice – listing my ‘top 5’ moments from the day.

Katie:

  1. Daily exercise and morning body boost (rubbing essential oils and coconut oil on my body while telling myself some positive affirmations for that day)
  2. Insight Timer for daily meditation.
  3. Talking to friends and seeing a counsellor

Kendra:

  1. Enjoying fresh air and the outdoors as much as possible
  2. Eat food that nourishes my physical and mental health
  3. Sometimes I just need to forget the ‘to do’ list and play with my two-year-old daughter

Fiona:

  1. Going for a walk and sometimes listening to an interesting podcast is a great way to zone out or get a different perspective on something
  2. A quiet bath
  3. Communicating with those closest to us, positive and negative things – bottling things up never ends well

 

Here are some of our favourite apps and programs:

The Slow Your Home podcast

The Mindful Kind podcast

Smiling Mind app

All Being Well podcast

Up for a Chat podcast

Chopra Meditation programs

A Live Yogi online programs

Mindfully podcast with Brett Kirk (good one for the guys)

Bootcamp for the Soul by Trevor Hendy (another good one for the guys)

Happy Mama podcast

Daily gratitude journaling and regular, round-table conversations with family and friends to discuss:

  • What we are grateful for
  • The best part of our day
  • The biggest challenge of the day
  • What we are looking forward to

Don’t ignore your mental health… it’s way too important!

The Splendid Word Team

Xo

#spreadingthegoodstuff

 

Image thanks to: mhcsa.org.au

 

It’s time to get WICKED!

posted on: September 14, 2018
in: Our blog

How often do you stop to think about your waste management practices and the impact your behaviour is having on our environment?

It’s something I am increasingly becoming more mindful of as I try to make better choices for the health of my family and the planet, in the hope that I can be a positive role model for my two young children and raise them with a social and environmental conscience.

The Campaspe Shire is asking you to be become more aware of ‘waste’ through its annual WICKED survey.

 

The WICKED (Waste In Campaspe – Know, Educate, Do) Program informs and educates, and aims to shape positive attitudes and behaviour change in waste reduction. The WICKED survey provides important insights into the impact the program is having in our community and you can WIN some fabulous prizes by being involved.

Campaspe Shire Environmental Projects and Education Officer Samantha Ferrier explains the WICKED survey provides valuable information on residents’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to environment and waste management practices across the Shire.

The survey seeks feedback on the use of council’s eight transfer stations, kerbside collection, illegal dumping and what goes in what bins. It provides consistent baseline data to help with identifying waste education priorities as well as the planning, coordination, implementation and evaluation of the program. It also gives residents the opportunity to get creative and share a short story and photo about how they are implementing their sustainability practices at home, work or school.

“My favourite part of the survey is reading entrants’ responses to the Sustainable Living question,” Samantha said.

“This year the theme asks residents to demonstrate how they meet one or more of the objectives of the WICKED program – from improving recycling and minimising food waste, to increasing energy and water savings,” she said.

Results from previous WICKED surveys have shown a positive shift in peoples’ attitudes and behaviour towards waste reduction and we can only hope, with the broader movement that is building momentum across the globe thanks to programs such as The War on Waste and the decision by major supermarkets to ban single-use plastic bags, this year’s results will continue to improve.

Not only will completing the survey help improve waste and environment educational opportunities for the community, you can also win one of the following four great prizes:

  1. A recycled plastic raised garden bed (eWood wicking bed) valued at $600.
  2. A plastic free-living gift pack valued at over $120, thanks to Echuca Food Store and Organics.
  3. A copy of Waste Not – Make a Big Difference by Throwing Away Less by Erin Rhoads.
  4. A Port of Echuca Discovery Centre Family Pass.

The WICKED survey is open to all Campaspe Shire and Moama residents, groups, businesses and schools, and can be accessed via council’s website under the ‘Have your say’ section or click here. Hard copies are also available from Customer Service Centres across the Shire.

The online survey closes on Sunday September 30, and winners will be notified by Wednesday October 10.

So now is the perfect time to have your say. And remember every small step we take towards positive behaviour change today can have a huge impact on the attitudes and practices of the next generation.

Katie

#spreadingthegoodstuff

 

Image thank to Campaspe Shire

Spreading the Good Stuff in Deni!

posted on: August 31, 2018
in: Our blog

There was an abundance of positivity at a recent Regional Women of Influence panel in Deniliquin, as part of the annual Elders Riverina Sheep Expo, hosted by our very own Spreading the Good Stuff podcast partner Katrina Myers.

Despite current drought conditions and tough times faced by many across the agricultural industry, particularly in NSW and QLD, the three-woman panel discussed opportunities for each and every woman in the room to embrace their power to positively influence others.

“We are all people of influence,” insisted Katrina, who as MC was joined by two notable women of influence: Airlie Trescowthick and Robbie Sefton.

“Everything comes down to mindset – wherever you are, and whatever you are doing,” Katrina said.

“Life is 10% about what happens to you, and 90% how your respond… there are so many opportunities in regional communities.

“Regional communities offer a unique sense of belonging and the challenges encourage you to adopt a growth mindset,” she said.

Despite the troubling prospect of drought and tough times ahead, Katrina and her husband Tim made a conscious decision to move to a regional community and embrace country life on their avocado and cropping farm in Barham.

Managing Director of national marketing communications company Seftons, farmer and 2015 Westpac Woman of Influence (among many other things) Robbie Sefton encouraged the women gathered in Denilquin’s Peppin Heritage Centre to “believe that you can have a crack at anything”.

Robbie, who grew up in Deniliquin, credits her ‘bush’ upbringing for her ability to connect with community.

“It never leaves you – the no ‘bullshit’ approach and the connectedness of country,” she said.

Self-belief and shaping your own destiny were some of the themes discussed, and Robbie encouraged all to “lose the losers and surround yourself with positive people” – Amen to that!

 

Founder of Farm Table and entrepreneurial producer and innovator Airlie Trescowthick applauded the importance placed on regional and rural ‘values’.

When discussing the many challenges faced by regional women including financial confidence and harnessing knowledge, Arlie spruiked about the benefits of collaboration in regional communities and fostering a ‘shared vision’.

“Knowledge and knowing how farms work is power,” Arlie said.

“You have to know why you are doing something … it’s about exchanging ideas and a positive mindset,” she said.

Farm Table is a national online communications platform, aimed at pooling industry knowledge, connecting individuals and making farmers feel at home ‘online’.

“Agriculture is a knowledge-based economy and exchanging ideas and creating a network for farmers is so important,” Arlie said.

 

Communication, networking, self care and looking out for each other were clear messages from all three women, who have undoubtedly harnessed the power to influence those in their own patch and beyond.

However, Katrina reminded us that “we are all women of great influence” and have the power to do amazing things in our regional communities.

Drought and tough times certainly throw up many challenges for regional communities, however Katrina, Robbie and Arlie all share a common vision as farmers and women of influence to remain positive, practise a little self care and share both the joy and challenges of life on the land.

Thanks ladies for showing us how to ‘spread the good stuff’.

Thank you also to the organisers of this fabulous event… the scones were amazing!

Christy

#spreadingthegoodstuff

How’s your Plastic Free July going?

posted on: July 20, 2018
in: Our blog

It’s Plastic Free July and we’re just checking in to see how you are all going with reducing single-use plastics in your world.

This time last year I started my first Plastic Free July campaign and was honestly overwhelmed with the prospect, and not sure where the hell to begin.

Twelve months on, I am certainly not perfect in my attempt to be completely plastic free, but as a family we have created some permanent habits around reducing our waste, particularly single-use plastics and food scraps.

Last year for my birthday (which happens to fall in July) I received a double compost bin and an odourless scraps bucket for our kitchen to begin the process of reducing our food waste – which was overwhelmingly large and still requires some work.

I did look at getting some chickens, but compost was a great place to start for us and one the kids could be actively involved in. As well as all discarded fruit and vegetables, the compost bin is also a great place for tea bags and coffee grounds.

With the supermarket ban on single-use plastic bags now in place across many states, it has never been easier to find motivation to use our recycled shopping bags and with a good stash (some in the car and some inside) we are rarely caught out these days.

This July I have focussed my attention on what comes ‘into’ our house in terms of waste, rather than just focusing on recycling, and know I need to get a firmer meal plan to further reduce our food wastage.

Did you know Australian families throw out more than $3,500 worth of groceries a year, and in 2014/15 we wasted 3.3 million tonnes of food – enough to fill the MCG six times! Shocking… and I know I’m guilty here!

Straws are also a big one, and can be easily avoided. Australians throw away more than 10 million plastic straws every day.

Simply say NO to a straw and if you really need one, purchase a metal version you can carry – just like your own coffee cup.

It really is that simple, and if we all take small steps to reduce our own personal waste it WILL make a difference to our environment… one less piece of plastic at a time!

If you want to learn more about where our waste comes from, tune into the second offering from the ABC’s War on Waste on July 24 and be open to making some changes in your home.

Good luck with your own plastic free campaign this month (and beyond) and we’d love you to share any successes or challenges you have along the way over on our Facebook Page and on Instagram, using the hash tag #plasticfreejuly.

My number one tip would be to focus on one thing at a time, it can be overwhelming and challenging to change overnight… progress takes time!

Christy

xo

#spreadingthegoodstuff

A ‘slow’ ‘conversation with Sam Ferrier…

posted on: June 8, 2018
in: Our blog

Spreading the Good Stuff Episode 5 – Going Slow…

Many of our guests who attend our twice-annual Spreading the Good Stuff events at Junction talk about the important take-home messages from each unique gathering, and last night’s conversation about ‘living slow’ with Sam Ferrier was no different.

This fifth event in our series was once again a sell out affair and we are overwhelmingly grateful for the support this positive platform for important conversations has received since its inception in June 2016.

Sam shared her passion for the environment and her commitment to living a slow and intentional life and discussed how this can look different for everyone.

“It’s not about being wrong or right… it’s not about shaming people,” she explained when discussing her passion for sustainability in the face of our over-consuming society.

Sam is the Campaspe Shire Environment Projects and Education Officer and is passionate about empowering our community to consume less and become smart recyclers.

She is also an advocate for living a slow and intentional life and was quick to clarify last night that it’s a journey and not a destination, and that no one is perfect in their approach.

“It’s about awareness, and balance… and the understanding that you can live a full life, while still living slow,” she said.

The conversation was a powerful one, with the 70-strong crowd agreeing with Sam’s explanation that “slow living is the opposite to keeping up with the Jones”.

She did warn however, that when it comes to living a slow or intentional life ‘one size does not fit all’… and that we need to be careful not to get caught up in the ‘race’ to become the slowest!

Despite the mountain of evidence indicating our community and the world is being overrun with our obsession with throw-away consumables and our love affair with single-use plastics, Sam is optimistic about our ability to turn the tide and credits state-wide bans on plastic bags across the county as a major step in the right direction.

Sam believes we are moving from the initial education process of understanding the impact that our ‘waste’ is having on the planet to an ‘action’ phase where individuals, organisations and governments are taking positive steps to a more sustainable future.

She credits this positive change to a strong community-based movement (think Plastic Bag Free Echuca Moama and Boomerang Bags) and powerful messages such as those presented in the ABC’s War on Waste series.

“Local community groups are doing a lot of work and I feel conversations (around sustainability and waste) are definitely becoming more mainstream,” Sam said.

Our slow conversation last night was the perfect platform to discuss the potential for Echuca Moama to be officially classified a ‘slow city’ via the Cittaslow organisation and we are involved with a group of locals keen to see this process begin in the very near future.

A Cittaslow accreditation for Echuca Moama simply means shining a light on all the incredible individuals, groups and organisations already living a slow and intentional life here in our riverside community, and celebrating the benefits.

Specifically, Cittaslow ‘slow’ cities are towns that encourage diversity, support local culture and traditions, value a sustainable environment, healthy living and locally grown produce, and we believe Echuca Moama is well positioned to tick many of these boxes.

If you’re keen to throw your support, in any way shape or form, behind a slow movement for Echuca Moama, subscribe to the The Splendid Word database to be kept in the loop and jump on the Cittaslow website to learn more about this Italian based concept.

We thank Sam for sharing her story with us last night and for giving her authentic self to an important conversation.

We are also extremely grateful to the 70 wonderful people for coming along and to those many individuals who continue to show support each time this unique event comes around every six months.

Running these events with Junction is truly a gift and we are blessed to have this unique platform to foster powerful and important conversations within our community.

Stay tuned for our next event coming in late November and ensure you’re subscribed to be the first to know all the details of Spreading the Good Stuff Episode 6.

For those keen to learn more about Sam’s approach to living a slow and intentional life here are some links to the podcasts, books and other tools she mentioned last night:

We also have some fantastic links below, thanks to Sam, to help demystify the recycling process and help with important decisions around waste:

Recycling Poster (1)

Fact Sheet – Kerbside Waste and Recycling – Your A-Z Guide (2)

waste hierarchy (1)

Thank you again Sam, and everyone who came along, for helping us to spread the good stuff,

Christy and Leonie

xo

A Time For Growth

posted on: May 16, 2018
in: Our blog

When the two of us set out on our freelance endeavor six years ago, and created The Splendid Word, not in our wildest dreams did we dare to imagine that this venture might evolve into something bigger than ourselves.

 

From the get-go, it was our intention to create a sustainable business that would fit in around our obligations and responsibilities to our young families – and feed our passion for words.  Not the other way around.

 

Giving up the security of our day jobs, and devoting our hearts wholly and solely to freelancing was a risk, but one that we had to take for the sake of our own growth (and sanity), and our families’ wellbeing.

 

Becoming full-time freelancers, whilst not without its own set of challenges, has enabled us to continue living our passion for storytelling, but in a way that allows us to prioritise time to also value the gift of our families.

 

In the years since making the switch from hard news journalism and politics to what we do today, there is one glaring difference. And it’s the reason we so deeply love what we do now.

 

These days we get to tell the good news stories.

 

For as long as we could remember, we’d been writing about the stuff that grabs headlines. And more often than not, that was bad news, sad news, or negative news.

 

And that stuff just wasn’t resonating with who we were on the inside, the kind of contribution we wanted to make to the world, or the kind of role models we wanted to be for our kids.

 

We wanted to use our words for good.

 

And so these days, that’s what we do. We get to write about the light-workers – the miracle-minded folk out there working to change the world for the better. We’ve built a business based entirely on that ethos and it’s a good fit for us. It feels right.

 

Through The Splendid Word, we’re working to promote positive communication and the power of kind language across our regional communities. We’re doing our bit to stand up against the endless stream of bad news and negativity spewing out of mainstream and social media, to change the conversation, and to spread more of the good stuff in our own backyard.

 

And how do we do that? We do it through leading by example. And by empowering people to take greater care of the impact their words, actions and intentions have inside their own heads, and on the lives of all those they encounter.

 

It’s a big crusade – and one that has seen our workload grow quickly in recent times – primarily because our message is resonating deeply with people looking for a better way to share their story and to connect with clients on a more authentic level.

 

And up until recently, it’s a crusade we’ve managed entirely on our own. 

 

But we knew that if we wanted to continue spreading the good stuff even further – and in a way that was sustainable and would allow us to continue to take care of ourselves and our families – we needed to rally more troops.

 

And so over the past 12 months or so, we’ve been quietly expanding, and we’ve welcomed three talented new team members into The Splendid Word fold.

It’s been a positive move in so many ways. These creative, big-hearted individuals bring a whole new range of skills, insights and learnings to our team – and most importantly of all – they ‘get’ what it is that our business stands for. They’re vibrant, positive, genuine, clever humans who want to make a lasting difference in the world, and who we know will help take our message even further.

 

Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we introduce the new faces in our splendid word team.

 

Xx Lee & Christy

#spreadingthegoodstuff

#wordsforgood

Spreading The Good Stuff – Episode 5 ‘Going Slow’ has landed!

posted on: May 7, 2018
in: Our blog

Spreading The Good Stuff - Slow movement

It’s landed! The 5th episode in our Spreading the Good Stuff live conversation series is coming your way, with the divine Samantha Ferrier at Junction Moama on Thursday June 7.

In this episode we’ll be diving deep with Sam to explore her ‘slow’ approach to life, her deep passion for the environment and sustainability, and how we can all play a role in reducing the footprint we humans are leaving on this earth.

Sam is an environmentalist, change-agent and firm advocate for living a slow and wholehearted life. She believes that by choosing ‘slow’ we can not only help our earth, but also improve our relationships and experience of life in the process.

She is the founder of Echuca Moama Plastic Bag Free, has played a lead role in championing the local Boomerang Bags movement and is passionate about fostering grassroots programs that will lead to positive change.

“I have always had a passion for the environment, in some way or another,” says Sam.

“I want to ensure that the planet we are borrowing from our grandchildren is thriving and sustainable. We live in such a throwaway and convenient society, where instant gratification and monetary wealth often take precedence over environmental stewardship and richness in relationships, culture and experiences.

“At the same time, we have seen a flourishing of grassroots movements towards caring for our earth and our people, and this excites me. I want to foster these community initiatives and believe that these ripples are the pathway to change… slow and meaningful change.”

Sponsored by Junction Moama, #spreadingthegoodstuff events examine the lives of extraordinary individuals in our region who are making a positive impact in their patch.

The conversation series builds on our crusade to promote positive communication and the power of kind language across our regional communities.

Each event includes a live conversation hour where we explore some of the big issues, challenges and opportunities of our time – leaving you enriched, enlarged and empowered to spread more of your own good in the world.

Join us at Junction on June 7 for a remarkable evening of illuminating conversation with Samantha Ferrier by securing your tickets today. We know this conversation will leave you feeling inspired and empowered to create positive change in your own lives, and in the world around you.

Tickets are $30, strictly limited and must be purchased prior to the event day. Included in your ticket is a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and nibbles.

Tickets and further details available here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

x Lee

#spreadingthegoodstuff

 

Please note: Junction is an over 18 venue at all times.

Smart casual dress required, no thongs after 5pm.

 

 

A Giant Among Sporting Heroes

posted on: April 20, 2018
in: Our blog

Since starting out in business back in 2011, it’s been our mission at The Splendid Word to use our words for good.

 

To stand up against the endless stream of negativity spewing out across mainstream and social media, and to share stories that paint a picture of joy, kindness and hope.

 

In doing so, we hope to educate and empower others to do the same. Because to us, words are THE most powerful vehicle for connecting, inspiring and creating positive change in the world. We believe wholeheartedly that when we take greater care of the impact our words, actions and intentions have inside our own heads, and on the lives of all those we encounter, big magic happens.

 

And this week we couldn’t think of a more uplifting, inspiring and positive story to share with our tribe, than that of this great man – Brett Sands.

Brett Sands - Australian Barefoot Champion

 

Last weekend Brett was named in the Australian team for the 2018 IWWF World Barefoot Waterski Championships in Canada, to be held in August.

 

It’s been 18 years since this legend of the sport represented his country, and it’s the 12th time he has made the Australian team.

 

He already has the honour of being the youngest ever Australian representative, as a 14 year old in 1984. This extraordinary feat now makes him the oldest man to ever represent the green and gold at the elite level!

 

His success at last week’s Australian Barefoot Nationals in Adelaide – three silver medals in Slalom, Tricks and Open Men’s – cemented his place in the Aussie team, and he will now go on to compete in two divisions in Ontario, Canada.

 

Not only is Sandsy an incredible athlete and role model to people right across this land, he is also a passionate ambassador for his home town Echuca Moama, and a tireless worker for so many community groups and projects.

 

He is a friend and mentor to many, an all round great guy and family man, and his dedication and commitment to achieving his goals in his chosen sport has inspired a community.

 

We wish you every success in Canada Brett – but you’re already a giant among heroes in our eyes.

 

X Lee.

#spreadingthegoodstuff #wordsforgood #freelancers #storytellers

 

Something inside me has died…

posted on: March 27, 2018
in: Our blog

I don’t normally write about cricket on the blog, but this week I had to. How could I not? To be honest I did it for therapy…. I am wounded.

On Sunday something inside me died.

As the full detail of the ball-tampering scenario in Cape Town unfolded, a sinking feeling set in… and I could only bare to watch through my fingers, cringing in horror.

There were messages and phone calls of sympathy. Monday morning I literally choked back tears as I listened to some of our cricketing greats: Jim Maxwell, Adam Gilchrist and Gideon Haigh, despair over what they had witnessed and how, like me, they were grappling to come to terms with, and reconcile, what had actually happened during the third test in Newlands. And why?

I’ve been searching for reasons, justifications and more evidence of: ‘everyone else does it’ so it’s ‘no big deal’ and I’ve come up empty every single Twitter scroll.

I was hoping for some miracle snippet of information that would help me understand how and why we got to this place in the sport I love, at the highest level.

The obvious answer is they did it because of the immense pressure to win, despite having the best bowling attack in the world and the number one batsman in the world (aka Steve Smith).

Yes, these young men did not kill anyone and no one has died here, but I feel ‘something’ has died and I feel the mourning – in all circles, not just among us cricket lovers.

I don’t remember a sporting saga taking hold in this way, ever. Maybe the Essendon scandal, but that was just one club, not a national side.

You cannot read a newspaper, tune into a news bulletin or scroll through social media without being reminded of this sorry tale and I feel utterly embarrassed.

I’m embarrassed because as a cricket tragic I have always supported the Australian Cricket Team, win, lose or draw, and I now feel cheated. This is not the same as losing a match, a series or getting bowled out for 60 runs in one morning of cricket.

This is different… this is just not cricket at all.

This is worse, much worse, as it speaks to the character of who we are and what we expect of our national sporting players… and of ourselves.  

Where we are right now as a cricketing nation is not a national disgrace… it is a crisis of culture.

It must be stated this is a crisis of the cricketing community, not a life or death tale, natural disaster, war or human rights abuse.

However, you cannot underestimate the emotion and widespread fall-out of an event like this. And not just for cricket, but for our wider community.

And this is why I feel so gutted, and so gravely concerned.

I will forgive Steve Smith and his co-conspirators for their actions and I have no doubt their punishment will befit the act, however I cannot brush aside why this has happened and the broader issues it refers to not only in cricket, but also in our community.

Why do we have to win at all costs? And why do we have to degrade others and devalue ourselves in this ‘winning’ process.

This current series between Australia and South Africa has been heated and fiery at best, abusive and shameful at worst.

Early in the piece sledging on both sides stooped to the lowest of lows and it came close to blows, both on and off the field.

Some say sledging is an important aspect of the game and gives Australia an edge and is a blueprint for how we go about our business.

My 13-year-old son agrees with this, and attributes some of his good work behind the stumps as keeper to his talent for sledging.

The problem with this is that when general ‘good natured’ banter is allowed and encouraged, the ‘other’ is allowed to creep in and the line becomes blurred, particularly as boys become men.

This ‘line’ is somewhat subjective and that’s why ‘personal’ sledging cannot be tolerated in cricket (or any sport) anymore.

I ask, perhaps naively, why can’t cricketers just ‘rib’ each other about cricket?

Why do they have to sledge about the personal aspects of cricketer’s lives, their race, culture, and appearance and specifically about their mothers, wives or girlfriends?

Both teams in this series have claimed the high moral ground and players have declared disgust and offence against those who have crossed the so-called ‘line’.

South African supporters joined in this unfriendly ‘banter’ and I have no doubt the same would happen here at home. It appears no woman, mother or girlfriend is sacred when it comes to sledging in this modern era of cricket, and I think it needs to stop – for everyone’s sake.

I listen to a lot of commentary about cricket and I have only ever heard one commentator ask, during this current series, why players need to use women as a tool for sledging.

The reply, from one of our cricketing greats was that “it gets a response”.

For me, a really important point is being missed here, and that this degrading level of banter illuminates exactly where many of our players sit when it comes to moral standards in cricket right now.

Put simply, there aren’t any. And if I am wrong (which I would love to be) there is no clear evidence to the contrary.

I’m passionate about women’s cricket, which has been wholeheartedly embraced by the wider cricket-loving community – at all levels of the game.

Why then, accept the use of women as a tool for sledging and brush it off as ‘part of the game’? I don’t want to bring feminism into this ball-tampering scandal, but for me this whole sorry affair speaks more broadly of a blatant lack of moral code within Australian cricket at the highest level, which has brought us all to a place that no-one is proud of.

Is this the sort of behaviour our parents (mothers), our children (daughters) and our country is proud of? I think not. And you only have to take the temperature of the current media situation to know this to be true.

And the same goes for cheating. Nothing, not even winning, is worth the disgrace and shame of degrading your teammates, your friends, your family and those who support you.

I’ve heard some say this week that altering the ball (cheating) to get extra swing and personal sledging happens on both sides of cricket… that everyone is doing it, and always has.

This does not make it right under any circumstances and if we learn anything from Cape Town it must be to change the current culture of cricket – at all levels.

Players must be banned for their stupid mistakes and a new blueprint for how we conduct ourselves should be introduced – for the sake of cricket.

I will continue to love cricket and travel the country and the world to watch the game, but something is broken here and it needs to be fixed.

The passion and blind faith I had for Australian cricket has died, and I fear our national side has lost its way and it’s going to be a long, hard road back for everyone.

Christy ~ lover of cricket

TSW

Image: australiannetworknews.com

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