Posted by: malechallengemedia | April 5, 2010

Pip Cornall on Australian Sport – Fallen Heroes – Catchpole, Miller, Carey, Hall, Cousins, D’Arcy, Warne, Baggley. What’s going on?

The US has Tiger Woods and we have our sorry lots. But I have some compassion for these fallen sports heroes. Don’t get me wrong, I believe they should face the consequences of their actions; I believe they should not be shielded from the law because of their sporting hero status.

However I have long said it takes a whole village or culture to make a boy or man become violent. Yes I’d class all of the actions from the men above as a form of violence. (more about that later in the article). I believe these men are only acting out the larger sickness that is rampant in our society and one which, if unchecked, will prevent humanity from saving the planet and of course itself.

It is worth remembering these men have been immersed in sporting cultures in which attitudes to women, alcohol and physical violence have been unhealthy. These men have not been allowed in their cultures to be authentic—to be “real men.” In fact they probably do not know what authentic really means.

I’ve worked with enough “tough guise” in the form of gang kids or young men in prison, to know that the actions that got them into trouble were not actions connected to their hearts–they had heads filled with silly ideas. When we helped them take off the tough boy masks and showed them ways to get in touch with their hearts, they we able to be authentic for the first time in their lives. An in every case those authentic men were good people.

So what happened to them and the sports heroes mentioned above? The answer is simple although the solution is not. These males have not had enough exposure to older men, to elders who can help them think with their hearts and feel with their minds. They were not pulled into check by their peers because the culture of sport and indeed the Australian male culture, has not allowed the authentic heart-based male to become prominent. In fact such actions of authenticity are usually savaged and silenced by peers because they dared to step outside the “be a man box.”

I believe the culture of sport and the Australia male culture, although it has many wonderful aspects and we should retain those, these cultures are built around what I call unhealthy forms of masculinity—one which in today’s global crises is not sustainable. This is why I’m calling for intelligent and exploratory conversations around sustainable masculinity.

What is a healthy masculinity? A healthy male cares about people of all classes and colour, he cares about the planet and is devoted to finding solutions to global warming and global violence so his children have a future. A healthy male intends to do no harm and when he slips up from his goals he has the courage to clean up his messes—he makes amends.

The men above and all who will make headlines in the following years, have hurt other people, yes selling drugs hurts people, yes having affairs hurts people and yes hitting people and breaking their jaws is extreme violence and their victims will hurt for years to come.

What is not spoken openly about is that the perpetrators hurt also, they hurt their own hearts and their souls are in pain, even if they don’t know it yet. That is why I have some compassion for them. I understand since I have needed to have compassion and forgiveness for my own stupid actions that hurt people I loved.

Fortunately I can speak from how it feels after cleaning up many of my messes.


AND that is when I became a “real man.”


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