My Sporting Role Model – Brad Thorn

My Sporting Role Model – Brad Thorn

I’m not a big sports fan at all. And up until Sunday the name Brad Thorn was not even on my radar. In fact I don’t even really know why I started to read the story in The  Courier Mail’s Q-Weekend but  I’m very glad I did!  For me to find myself crying into my coffee is not uncommon  (I think perhaps I have a bladder where my sinuses should be!)  but for me to read the back pages of the paper sure is rare! To find myself  so moved  by his story  got me thinking about a few things. Role Models. Celebrity Scandal. Media. And why people like me can do without my regular dose of sport…

You know why people like me don’t really get into watching sport on TV?

Because I don’t know enough about the people on the field; about their stories, what really makes them tick and how they came to make the choices they have. Perhaps if other sport-illiterate people like me knew more of the real stories behind these BRIGHT stars we’d take more of an interest in watching them play?  Yet each time I hear of another drug/sex/alcohol/violence football scandal I am further turned off the sport and watching these idiots play a game that gave them the fame and privileges they now readily abuse…

I want to be inspired not repulsed. Moved not shocked…

And from now on at least I promise to make a point of watching more Rugby games in which that darling man Brad Thorn plays – regardless of which team he plays for! Because I now know a little more of the story behind the person kicking that ball around  and from what I can gather he’s the “real deal”. He has great style and for me the words “style icon” or “role model” have to include one very important element. R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Brad talks of the loss of his dad at 19 – a painful memory that will go with him for the rest of his life and could easily have been used as his excuse to go “off the rails” (but he didn’t).  With his  sporting success came perks – the flash cars, houses, parties, booze, girls falling at his feet. He supposedly “had it all” yet still found himself wanting something more. Brad played hard and for years the binge-drinking was the norm for him and many of his team-mates, as it is for many of today’s youth regardless of their  success or lack thereof.

It’s just the way it is, it seems – that Aussie drinking culture. But with that fun comes the dark downsides: the lack of control and the false confidence. The accidents. The violence. The lack of respect for the physical workings of the human body and just how much “abuse” it can really take. The lack of respect for the opposite sex and the sharing of intimacies with strangers who’s names you may not even remember the next day. But deep down, Brad was a smart guy and he had been brought up well.  He knew the choices he was making at the time were not smart, and that he couldn’t keep up that lifestyle and have the “more” he craved. He turned his back on that lifestyle and even for a time, the game he loved. He found love. God. Self-respect. And the real Brad.

But you know what peeves me the most?

It’s that great stories like Brad’s don’t get told often enough. That the media  headlines and  “force-feeds” us the latest scandalous stories of footballer’s falls from grace; of corruption, drug abuse, assault/group sex/rape charges.  The media uses these headlines to then discuss analyse and dissect the responsibility our sport-stars have as role-models for our kids, yet our kids wouldn’t know half of what these idiots got up to if the media didn’t make endless headlines out of the sensational scandals!  For each DUMB footballer making seriously dumb choices (and continuing to regardless of the number of second choices and privileges they get) there are just as many if not more, who do incredibly smart things and put their celeb-status to very good use. Those who inspire us. Those who inspire our kids. Who help underprivileged youth and who are seriously damn good role-models!

Here’s my challenge…

So – dear media! Instead of telling us what the Cousins, Johns, Fevolas and others are getting up to – why not “feed” us more good stories – the Stephens, Thorns and Webke-type instead? Why should we have to wait so long for another (all too rare) great read about the many shining stars in the various football/sporting codes?  Why can’t the media do more “in focus” stories on all the GOOD GUYS in sport? So girls like me who don’t normally take an interest can start to follow the people kicking the balls (you never know – in time we just may start following the ball too!). But most importantly, so our children will be inspired and will know that there are other choices they too can make. That’s it’s not uncool to choose respect for self and others. That binge-drinking is really not what it’s cracked up to be by their mates and isn’t what buys you friends or popularity.  Let’s all share with our kids, the interviews like Brad’s (the good stuff!) – the rare occasions when we are given these inside glimpses into the people behind the game.  Let’s give them truly positive role models instead of following the fading dim-wits who continue to abuse the power they get from the talents they were lucky to have been blessed with! Go on! I dare you!

If you didn’t read this week’s Q-Weekend, grab a copy and make your kids read it too…it’s well worth the tears you too may even shed into your morning coffee!  Good on you Q-Weekend. Great interview Trent Dalton. And good on you Brad Thorn!

2 Responses to My Sporting Role Model – Brad Thorn

  1. Hi Al I couldn’t have said it better myself. There are so many sportsmen and women who go unrecognised for the positive attributes and obstacles they have had to overcome to be where they are today. And why aren’t they being recognised? The reason is because the media doesn’t care. This doesn’t sell newspapers or magazines. So to the media they aren’t worth the mention. I believe stories such as Brad’s inspire young people in a positive way. As you and I both know no obstacle is to big to overcome if you want it badly enough. Well done Brad!

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