Hockey enthusiasts let alone the public were expecting a better semi-final result that a 2-4 loss to Germany and it reflected once again that somehow the Kookaburras second halves proved wanting.
Having soundly defeated South Africa and Spain, the Kookabuarra’s faulted in their second half endeavours allowing Argentina to pull back to a 2-2 draw, and worse, the next match allowed Great Britain to pull back a 3-3 draw having been 3-0 up. Something was terribly wrong.
With more space to play with, their final pool match against the free flowing Pakistan saw the Kookaburras win 7-0, an outstanding result with a 4-0 half time lead. The Germans would never allow them so much room to move and the Kookaburra camp were well aware of it.
Leading 2-1 in that fateful semi-final, the Kookaburras once again subjected themselves to that second half demon and allowed gaps in their play that were never conceived of in previous tournaments.
Charlesworth acknowledges the criticism. After his two Olympic Gold successes with the Hockeyroos (12 years ago) I recount his memorable words, that he would not coach the men as the men don’t do as their told.
Church and Mission much the same
Herein lies the bane of all suburban church ministry issues from the view of the erstwhile clergy. I recall the late Bishop Brian King when speaking at a sports chaplains conference in 1992 in Wollongong explaining how difficult it is within church life - to get volunteers to follow the stated and approved procedures.
Church ministry largely functions on volunteers and many of these volunteers engage in many hours of ministry which maintains the smooth running of the suburban church.
A ministry program might be set in place by the leadership of the church and herein is a problem area for church life. The real question is not whether the program was set up and indeed approved, but whether the program has the support of those who implement the program, that is, the volunteers.
It is one thing to bring a program down from on high, it is quite another whether those who do the hard-yards ministry on the ground will follow it. There is a real issue associated with church and mission ministry at this level and it relates to “ownership”.
This applies equally to the Kookaburras as it does to any local church or mission program. It would not have mattered what Charlesworth had said to his charges on that fateful London Olympic semi-final day in relation to second half responsibilities. If the players themselves considered it either unworkable or too unrealistic in the nature of the demanding physical and mental scenarios, it would not have been followed.
So too with local congregations and mission volunteers and helpers. Ultimately it is they who need to own the process, and unless there is a mutual respect and ongoing ‘fair trade’ there will inevitably be groaning and undercurrent vibrations that will show themselves in a variety of ways in discontent.
Situations where the leadership has an agenda that the ‘doers’ don’t agree with or have reservations about, is a sure recipe for eventual trouble and breakage of spirit resulting in leaving that church or ministry or worse, leaving behind Christian activities altogether. Leaders therefore have an awesome responsibility to carry with them their volunteers or be wise and humble enough to find another course.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html