Singing the Packer swansong
Throughout his reign as Australias wealthiest man, Kerry Packer became the less-than-invisible hand behind professionalisation of sport in Australia. During this time the mogul involved himself in the day-to-day running of his media empire, where his incredibly common touch had a significant effect on the ethos of our country. Packers bullying and brutally rude style of aggressive jingoism was increasingly taken on by national teams as they set about grinding down their opposition, ie. burying them so deep in the s*!t that youd need a microscope to see the top of their heads, as Packer himself might have put it. These tactics of identifying and shoving the heads of tall poppies down the dunny has proved extremely effective as our nation has come to dominate world sport, well at least until last year.
Last year foreign teams found a way to counter Australias grinding professionalism; they enticed their crowds to sing inspiring anthems such as Jerusalem and the Marseilles.
In response to these rich, poetic and deeply inspirational songs, Australian crowds can chant Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! Now obviously I cant speak for Australian players but Im not exactly inspired when I hear that chant.
When someone as powerful as Packer dies an opportunity arises to change the direction and ethos of a nation. As I listened to last weeks Test match crowd all I could hear was the nagging chant of Nel is a w#*ker. Is that it? Is this as good as it gets? What about Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newtons I am Australian. Its a positive, rich and spiritually uplifting piece and I can imagine a 40,000-strong crowd singing it with great passion. Whether we embrace Woodley and Dobes work or come up with something new I encourage you and sporting administrators across the country to have a look at the lyrics we aemploy in the sporting arena and find a way to inspire our crowds to be encouraging rather than demeaning.
Sure, it would take real leadership and at present we still live in the dark and dirt-common age of the last emperor, but there is hope.
There is so much more to this country than bleating Come on Aussie, come on. We have a chance now to reach for the stars rather than just settle back into the cesspit. We need to put our generosity of spirit, which is profound, back into our everyday cultural experience. Now is the time to wipe the s*!t from our eyes, to open our hearts and minds, and lead the world not just on the scoreboard but in spirit as well.