It was wonderful once again to be a guest of Mr Basil Sellers AM for the opening and announcement of the winner. The nicknames I could identify from my 1970’s hockey team – they all had similar nick names.
Look at our Olympians, the cricketers and the footballers (of all codes)! No male athlete misses out on such an honour! Girls are not excluded. And it is an honour, it gives a sense of belonging and acceptance. This is the first thing new immigrants learn as kids! It’s a national past time.
Jon Campbell said in his acceptance speech that the names in the winning Basil Sellers Sport-Art :Prize entry came directly from AFL football classics. One of them was from Gary Ablett snr, “God”. There was Spud, Rat, Lethal and the like. We know them all.
The philosophical brilliance of the art work was that it was so typically Australian and so typically “sport” Australian. One of the common denominators in all Australian men’s sport in particular is that everyone gets a nickname. Even if it’s behind their back. Channel 9’s Olympic commentators have given Lawrence Clarke the Great Britain 110 metre hurdler (4th in final) the nickname (who they claimed is from the eccentric aristocracy) “Leaping Lord Lawrence”.
One of the Judges is former Rugby World Champion Wallaby captain Nick Farr-Jones who officially opened Basil Sellers House (Moruya 1992) the elite athlete respite facility which I established in 1992.
Nick Farr-Jones has a long history in athlete welfare and we discussed the continuing important role of Life After Sport (Cricket) that I co-ordinate and developed since 2000 with an editorial team of Allan Border, Greg Chappell, Kim Hughes, David Boon, NSW and VIC Cricket with our bi-annual retired cricketers newsletter.
Another entry that intrigued me was the untitled work by Louise Harman that depicted several art works of AFL footballers. These surrounded a central painting depicting a crowd of footy players lifting high their star.
Louise Hearman asked me what was my impression. My response was that it portrayed the “press” of people upon Jesus and the art work showed a Jesus “look-alike” as the one being promulgated and lifted up.
I expressed the view that the supporting smaller art works of footballers were all running to Jesus. Louise, who knew I was a Minister was fascinated as she at once could recognise how my thinking was directed!
But she was not the only one who recognised this. I spoke to several other patrons with these perceptions who could likewise see what I could see. I took a photo and has since shown others who have likewise seen the Biblical insight.
The Basil Sellers Sport-Art Prize is at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Swanston Street, Carlton (Melbourne University) until early November and in February it will be shown on the Gold Coast.
Be sure to see it and get a whole other view of sport!
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