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Thanksgiving – Friendly Competition

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

When Hollywood actor Paul Newman died in 2008, one of the briefest and more touching memories of him came from his close friend and memorable on-screen partner Robert Redford. Redford recalled how the two had enjoyed a friendly rivalry in pranking each other over the years. It was never acknowledged publicly between the two, but nonetheless pursued by stealth with a great sense of fun and vigour.

Newman and Redford

It was a perfect illustration of what happens when two individuals, approaching a competition in the right spirit, can transcend the activity and create something much more fun and lasting.

As Australia and New Zealand prepare to do battle in the World Cup memories might be stirred of the underarm bowling incident in 1981 – a time when friendly competition was shelved for quick gain.

Better instead to think back to times when Sport has witnessed more noble gestures.

At the 1956 Olympic Games, as luck would have it also at the MCG, John Landy doubled back to check on his fallen team mate Ron Clarke in the 1500 metres final. He then recouped lost time and rounded the field to emerge victorious.

In 1984, at the auspiciously named Winged Foot Golf Club, Greg Norman and Fuzzy Zoeller traded excellence in stroke play for much of the final round of a major before the American won out. The graciousness and friendly rivalry displayed between the two is what makes the tournament a standout in memory.

Finally there is British cricketer Andy Flintoff who extended a comforting arm to his opponent Brett Lee after the Australians had come within a whisker of winning an Ashes test in 2005. He made us forget the divide between the two nations and how the game is the sum total of the effort of two participants.


To all those sportsmen and women who enter the game in the right spirit and frame of mind, and allow enough room for humanity not to be extinguished by the pursuit of a result, we say thank you.

Previous thanksgiving article: Stars

The season of Lent asks of us for sacrifice and the foregoing of many things, but an attitude of joy and gratitude should not be amongst them.

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the outset it should be made clear the viewpoints expressed here are a matter of individual opinion. If any one item doesn’t coincide with your own personal tastes then why not seek to better it with some thanksgiving of your own rather than a critique? You are always welcome to do so at the Archdiocesan website feedback mechanism.

So we invite you to come, walk with us awhile, and be thankful as we journey together to Calvary and beyond to Easter.

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