The School of Athens

The School of Athens
The School of Athens by Raphael (click on picture to view short documentary from Columbia University)

Thursday, 30 July 2015

50 years of progress, not

Fellow citizens,

There is only one person who truly knows how Adam Goodes is feeling now, and that is Adam Goodes.

The rest of us can only but imagine.

Growing up and playing rugby league in the South Sydney district, as I did, interacting with Indigenous Australians was as natural and common as interacting with blonde haired people.

The disdain that other Australians felt towards Indigenous people was very foreign to us. 

I knew well the Longbottoms and the Ellas who lived 'out La Pa way' (the suburb of La Perouse) and the Mundines and the Merritts who lived around Redfern, just to name a few families.

A wonderful Indigenous player, and one of the finest goal kickers of all time, who played for Souths in the 1960's was Kevin Longbottom.



The Souths' family all knew him as 'Lummy'.

I say knew him, as Lummy died at the age of 46 in 1986. Just one of the many Indigenous men who die too young.

He was a massive man, but a very kind and gentle man: a gentleman in every sense of the word.

Lummy presented me with my first representative Souths jersey. He presented it to me with such warmth and affection that I remember it to this day and still have that jersey, 37 years later.

During one of my games, which was played in atrocious conditions one terrible winter's day, I had to leave the field as I was literally frozen to the bone. 

Lummy followed me into the change rooms to ensure that I had stripped off all the wet gear and hopped in under the hot shower to ward off hypothermia, and then stayed with me until I had recovered fully.

Such was the measure of the man.

Years later, a friend of mine who had often watched Souths play at the SCG during their great era of the 1960's, told me a story of a disgraceful incident that he witnessed involving Lummy.

After a game at the SCG, Lummy was leaving the ground with his kit bag hoisted over his shoulder when he was confronted by three opposition fans who were racially abusing and taunting him.

He tried to pass them, but they wouldn't let him proceed.

Lummy, with a sad look of deep resignation on his face and without saying a word, put down his kit bag, straightened up to the three thugs, and within a matter of a few seconds and with a few well-placed blows, dispatched the three of them to the ground.

Not a word came from their bleeding lips as they could only manage the most pathetic of sheepish looks as they sat there stunned, and finally silent.

Lummy then turned around, picked up his kit bag, smiled at my friend and continued on his way.

I can only but imagine what Lummy felt then, as I can only but imagine what Adam Goodes feels now.

Over 50 years later, it appears not much has changed.


3 comments:

  1. I have written about this at my place and I disagree with you .

    the swans have more then one aboriginal yet it is only Goodes who gets booed.
    Strange sort of racism.
    Spectators have always booed tossers and this still occurs troday

    ReplyDelete
  2. I Remember Kevin. Could kick goals from in his own half. Unfortunately Eric Simms pin point accuracy as a kicker and the four tackle rule which unduly highlighted his lack of mobility due to his weight problems meant he would no longer play first grade.

    I can't say I ever heard any racist taunts towards any of the Aboriginals playing for Souths. They were a hell of a side.

    ReplyDelete

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