By Hans Ebert
It’s been one helluva week. In his first nine days as the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump has not only turned his own country upside down, but the rest of the world along with it. If Barack Obama was, to some, a “showbiz president”, surely we’re seeing an ongoing reality series hosted by Citizen Bane mixed with The Dark Knight Rises unveiling before our eyes?
Thank goodness for the Australian Open and the phenomenal displays of determination, passion, athleticism and inspiration from, especially, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It shows how much sport can shake off draining mental fatigue and take us to where much-needed positivity lives, even if it’s for a few hours with, in this instance, two incredible players giving their all.
What Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal did last night on centre court was up the ante on life. It helped some of us forget the tiresome tweeting of Trump, the constant attempts to bully, but then look lost and confused when suddenly confronted with the real world, and having to play the new role of trying to be a diplomat.
Federer and Nadal- and the Williams sisters- stayed true to who and what they are: great athletes who inspire. Who manage to touch that often neglected emotional quotient in us. Who are here to inspire the generations to come by being outstanding role models.
Donald Trump is showing the world what happens when any country or industry stumbles and allows in poor leadership and gives them the power to bend the truth, create polarisation, and lead a divisive country into a giant abyss.
Does horse racing have its own version of Donald Trump. Of course, it does. There might be a few. But the most well-known is in the land Down Under, and recently had his contract renewed. “Caligula” also has his media enablers to ensure that the emperor keeps his new robes on, and performs escape acts that would have even baffled Houdini.
In the other State, there’s no leadership- only racing’s version of Monty Python’s Flying Circus comprising all those with various high flying titles, but many wondering what they actually do.
This is why things are allowed to unravel with no one wishing to take a leadership role and put Humpty Dumpty together again by saying something and offering a glimmer of hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. But maybe this is a shrewd tactical move: Take all the potshots knowing they’re only rubber bullets and that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”.
Then again, is this a strategy or a shallow game of playing for time waiting for the golden handshakes to come around? And though a believer in freedom of speech, it’s really hard to stomach the illiterate gibbering of an intellectual midget like the twitterer below who has a problem with everything and everyone in the sport. Does horse racing really need a supporter and “defender of the truth” like this? This is what happens when leadership goes walkies.
Horse racing can learn much from the Williams’ sisters and the two heroes involved in that memorable men’s final.
Yes, never forget our equine heroes, but let’s applaud the human factor behind the sport and the athletes and the teamwork involved.
Often, they’re ignored. Too often, many of us get too involved in focusing on what are human mistakes. It’s way too easy to sit back and judge and talk through one’s pockets. It’s way too easy to see what’s wrong than what’s right.
It really doesn’t have to be like this. But only we can change this by leading through example.