There is no way of making vomiting sound like success. You have to do the next best thing, which is to vomit in such a way that the story you tell about it later will be amusing. Cue the train wreck that is the Australian Rugby team or Australian rugby in general.
Yep, it’s time to talk about things people talk about when they win…or on occasions, lose, and keep losing, building a tradition, starting with the Waratahs and finishing with the Wallabies. (Waits while laughter dies down and patrons move to the bars to buy further refreshments, or deaden the pain…or just get away from their Kiwi mates).
Where did the life blood of winning culture go?
Australian teams have enjoyed winning cultures since the convicts took on the local inhabitants in sun burn competitions. Not great odds at the outset but that was the lay of the land back then. From the beginning, Australians had to win, had to survive – there was no second place. That demanding necessity created mateship, new and better ways to achieve results and a giant slayer ability which turned into super powers when we were supposed to put up a good show and gracefully lose to superior skills, tactics and those that were supposed to be our betters. So, where has it all gone wrong? Where did the life blood of winning culture go? Why do the Wallabies now do impressions of the Poms, even when they are playing the Poms, albeit it with an ex Wallaby Coach? And let’s not talk about the other recent murders by the All Blacks, the Irish and the Scottish. Could we make them look any better? Only the Tahs can make underwhelming teams look better – don’t mention the Southern Kings; they now have the keys to Sydney (mind you, not any worthwhile silverware to be ransacked there).
Some time back we got professional. We got world and word savvy. Winning Culture was put out to pasture and the next generation was ushered in with High Performing Teams. This has not just been a new set of words to describe the same thing – the natural order of getting results has been delegated to the Team and a gaggle of support staff. Confusion now reigns and it is mandatory that we all have some improvement in us. Check the changes to the Winning Wallaby Ways under the guise of professionalism:
No public urination or pub fracas (the first step in bonding)
Nicknames lost to eternity (the second step in bonding and beats hands down discussing your shortcomings when you now have a name to describe it by the entire team)
Clichés to talk about what you cannot talk about (always keeps players on message because there is no message)
Leadership Group or Team (shared responsibility is no responsibility)
Mavericks, Lairs and Freakish individuals are working on their weaknesses and forgetting their strengths (and their tattoos)
No drug or sex scandals, not even a transgender self-discovery
Group feedback sessions on how players are managing their media sessions
I don’t know what you think footy is about but this is losing the reason why people play. And pay. Do you think people rug up on cold nights and get charged a leg and a few arms for refreshments to watch a leadership groups decide whether to shoot for goal or go for a line out?
Alan Jones in the driving seat for the Waratahs?
Australian Rugby has obviously lost its way. So much so, that a back to the future fake news story is doing the rounds with Alan Jones in the driving seat for the Waratahs – at least the disappointment of losing would be more fun to listen to with an erudite and sour plum summary from Alan than the normal professional, wooden and earnest description of being outclassed by whoever it was we played this week. Tell me one more time about the pride of wearing the colours of the Wallaby/Waratah/insert any ARU franchise that is still playing/exists or not under shadow of being sold/relocated or are already packing to go to French Rugby.
So, what does professionalism look like in the post professional era? Lots of sports science, oodles of coaches and handlers, media schedules with a sprinkling of sports management negotiations, product endorsement and sponsor advancement. Oh, and a game of footy to finish the week.
Sometimes you must go backwards to go forwards, much like a wallaby scrum. Just don’t get penalised for it. So, the lesson is, more always means worse. And everything takes longer than it should except sex.
Australian players primarily used to be a bunch that understands that if it seemed a good idea at the time, then make it a good time! Run the ball from your own try line, go for a pushover try, actually tackle, and when you’re finished get the backs involved!
Like Jobs and growth
No more. This is a tightly managed flock of turf walkers playing to a game plan, like Jobs and growth, or worse still, espousing that there is a plan. That always helps. Saying you have a plan. A game plan, our structures or something that sounds better than what it is.
So, listen and learn from our All Black friends. They don’t talk about plans. Or High Performing Teams. Don’t need to when you have a winning culture. And they even have a winning dance to go with it.
Or until they discover High Performing Teams.
I am off to work on a plan, or a structure with the leadership group on whose shout it is…