MORE than 100 guests were greeted by two double lounges on the St Michael’s hall stage where the four sportspersons were seated and questioned by Coolamon’s answer to Andrew Denton or Michael Parkinson - Tom Goss.
Tom started with his poem about the evils of the drug ice and highlighted how sport was important for people’s wellbeing and health. The speakers supported Tom’s observations and encouraged the audience to participate in sport, whether as a player, coach, volunteer or worker.
Racecaller Alan Hull recalled his first race call at the Coolamon trots and shared his experience calling Riverina Aussie rules games in the 1970s and 1980s. His biggest challenge was calling 36 Wagga Gold Cup made up of 16 year olds, whilst other races included horses he had called many times before. Alan was very proud of his family and acknowledged his son, Quint, on who is a sports commentator for the ABC.
Young wheelchair athlete Jess Pellow shared her success, especially winning a silver medal at a world championship in Canada. The crowd was silent and no one went to the bar as the speakers had the audience engrossed. Jess relayed a frustrating challenge for the 10 wheelchair basketballers on a court when the ball is caught between the the net and the backboard. Jess encouraged the audience to enjoy sport and outlined how sport helped her deal with her disability.
Temora’s Steve Reardon, ex-Canterbury Bankstown rugby league player, who played more than 160 first grade games including a premiership, had the crowd in stitches with stories including asking his father whether he should be a shearer or footballer. Steve summarised some of the great players such as Terry Lamb.
Rosemary Clarke outlined her athletic career as a competitor and coach including long jump and running. When teaching at St Francis Leeton the principal would drive her on Friday to catch a plane to grand prix events all over Australia to be back at school on Monday.
Thank you to the volunteers who ensured the audience walked away from the event feeling good. The combination of humour and great stories will be remembered for a long time.
IN RIGHT Said Fred (Saturday, April 4) Fred Goldsworthy lauded ancient Athenian democracy. Quite correctly he points out that the “democratic” aspects of it (from “demos” = “the people”) leave our own system of career politics for dead.
The Boule was the core body - 500 qualified citizens chosen by lot each year serving only for a month each as “politicians” in groups of 50 - the first task of each incoming group being to audit every member of the outgoing group (the Athenian year had 10 months). The Boule was fed and housed for a month and they then went back to their jobs - a perfect way of both invigorating the populace politically and educating everyone about the political system.
Disappointingly, one aspect Fred missed was the annual vote for ostracism. This process allowed for one person to be banished for a period of 10 years.
Everyone got to jot the name of anyone else on a bit of broken pottery and the person with the highest tally got the boot for a decade. Now, this aspect may well send your readers into a smiling, dreamy ecstasy - like kids in a lolly shop.
But there would also be the nagging thought of “What? Only one?” Or recall Oliver's request of “Please sir. Can I have some more?” I agree with Fred that we could benefit from a return to Athenian democratic ideas - but let’s not forget their best one. Let’s face it - even if your choice didn't get up, Ostracism Day would still be a day of bliss for all; well, all but one.
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