April 15, 2016

Day 910 – Cowboys

15th of April

Whilst I was raised with two sisters, my dad ensured we were raised watching football. From the premier league to the UEFA to the Euro and world cup. It didn’t take long before my sisters and I chose a team to support. For me it was easy, I became a Liverpool fan because my dad was a fan. Both my sister’s however, decided to support Man United. Understandably this caused some competitiveness amongst us three. My poor mum would get dragged into the middle and tried to referee.  Alongside football, my dad would insist on watching rugby, cricket and on occasions tennis. Whilst England won the Six Nations, Murray the Wimbledon, we continue to be a football nation. The last time England won the world cup was 1966 and even this win caused great controversy.  I remember England reaching the finals for the Euro 1996 but we lost to Germany and fans were outraged. English fans don’t have a great reputation abroad, mainly because when England loses a match, drunk fans act disorderly and cause much disarray to locals and other fans. Whilst I have watched numerous matches and was a die-hard Liverpool fan, I must admit that I never bought tickets for a match. None of us ever saw a match live and to my knowledge neither has my dad.

Upon living and working in Townsville, I became aware of the immense rugby fans. They have the ARL – Australian Rugby League here. My good friend, Chantelle, is a die-hard Cowboys fan. So Chantelle, Erin and I bought tickets to see a Cowboys game. The stadium is about half an hour from the city, in the middle of nowhere. The game started at around eight Friday evening and like back home, it is a family affair. There were heaps of children running around and you can opt to buy tickets to sit on the lawn. The stadium isn’t massive but neither were the screens. I’ve never seen a live rugby match so it sure was an experience for me. A lot of the locals were booing the opposite side, who didn’t really stand a chance against the Cowboys.

Whilst I disagree with the ridiculous amounts of money footballers get to play and the high salaries other sportsmen receive. I do love how sports brings people together. I was fortunate enough to be in Rio during the Football World cup and it was amazing to feel and be surrounded by such energy. Most Brazilians were following the matches so we could catch the games once we finished volunteering at project at a local pub or bar. And of course, when Brazil was playing we didn’t have to go to project as the priority was watching the football.  People from different countries all gathered together to watch the games at Copacabana beach and it was beautiful to be part of this. There were rivalries between certain countries but for the most part it was friendly banter. When Brazil was knocked out by Germany, the atmosphere changed significantly amongst some of the locals. There was a sense of great devastation and loss. It was like the country was mourning their loss. Argentina was stoked to be in the final and there was some speculation that this was a fix, it was pre-arranged that Brazil would be in the final with Argentina. Brazil however, didn’t make it and German went on to win the final.

There are numerous football legends from Pele, Zidane, Figo, Beckham, Ronald, Henry and Messi. These players and several others have changed the face of football and many youngsters look up to these players as their idols.  I grew up watching Beckham play for England and his signature move was bending a ball and scoring a goal. This move and his talent was focused on in the movie Bend it like Beckham. It was like overnight he became a football icon and legend. I remember watching Zidane’s last match and how he was sent off the pitch for head butting a Spanish player and France in turn went on to loss the match to Spain. He is a remarkably player but he ended his career on a head-butt. These are amongst the amazing football players who changed the face of football. Despite their remarkable talent and skill however, I feel they are overpaid. Professions such as doctors or paramedics who spend their day saving lives are not viewed as highly and subsequently are also not paid accordingly. Whilst I love football and the legends, they are overpaid and I don’t know when this will change. I long for the day where professions such as surgeons are paid respectively for saving lives.

Another industry which makes far too much money is the film industry. My friends and I went to watch the new 3D The Jungle Book in cinemas. Of course, the tickets were more than an average movie. The movie itself is great, the effects are good and the end result is amazing. However, it does not warrant the money we as viewers have to pay. The box office makes a ridiculous amount of money which continues to sky rocket with hit movies. Movies are a source of entertainment and actors have to work hard but again I would argue they are paid a ridiculous amount of money for this. There are actors that give a performance of a life time and they win an Oscar which seemingly justifies their salary. I wait for the day when saving lives is recognised as a profession that warrants more pay than a profession that entertains the masses.

The idea that masses benefit so salaries can be ridiculously high makes little sense to me. Saving someone’s life impacts them and their family but also their friends and employment. We do not live in isolation and the society benefits from a life being saved. For me and I’m sure for others this holds greater value then watching a football match or a movie. There are long term benefits that trickle down into society from the work surgeon’s and health professionals do. There is a direct and obvious benefit which can be seen and measured which isn’t the case with a football match. I feel professions that could and should hold more value are sidelined or not given the value they deserve. Paramedics who risk their lives to save others surely deserve more recognition and pay then a footballer.

We live in a society where people justify and are happy to pay ridiculous amounts for designer labels. We are judged and labelled by what we wear and we do. I have had people feel sorry for me that I’m a counsellor because I must hear some terrible stories. I’ve also had people question why I’m a counsellor or why I studied social work. The idea that I’m passionate about supporting and helping others and want to dedicate my life to this is hard to understand for some people.  Many of us seem to have accepted consumerism and sports players earning a ridiculous salary. The need to question or change this requires effort so it is easier for some people just to accept it.  I feel if more of us woke up and united then together something could be done to shift things. We could challenge the pay footballers receive or the price of designer labels. Many people are simply absorbed into this lifestyle, embracing it as though it is normal. For me it’s not normal and more importantly it’s not right. I stay clear of designer labels and will continue to help others. I know I can’t change matters single-handedly but I know I’m not alone.  I may be crazy to think I can bring about some change in this lifetime but I know I’m not the only one so are you with me?