The 4 Cent Hero
Who’s gonna be our hero now that she’s gone?
To say Aussies love to get behind a hero is a massive understatement. On the other end of the see-saw is that many from the Land Down Under also like to knock down the tall poppy. I’m not sure how or why these two things co-exist in our culture, but they do. I’ll make the generalisation that 90% of our heroes come from the sporting arena, with The Don, Dawn Fraser, ‘Our’ Cathy and John ‘Nobody’ Eales are four that come to mind. We latch onto them like a seagull to a chip, hoping to cheer them on to another victory, knowing our efforts in support assisted in their latest conquest.
Whilst the Kiwi’s are certainly obsessed with their rugby team, they showed of late that it is possible to have a hero (heroine) in someone other than a sporting star. Mrs Ardern set a benchmark that I find it hard to believe any of our elected officials will ever be able to meet, but I guess we can live in hope.
Last Saturday saw our country go Winx mad, as a horse moved the politicians, the wars, the drug problems and all the other news off the front pages. Off all pages actually, you couldn’t go more than a few minutes without seeing footage or images about win number 33 and everything that went with it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and the escapism of screaming our lungs out for a horse allows us to set aside our problems for a while. For about the last 15 of her races, she was at almost unbackable odds to bring home the bacon, and whilst some of the races ended up being close, in most cases it might as well have been a one-horse-race, but that didn’t stop us getting behind her.
There’s a TAB ticket on the fridge that shows our family bet one whole dollar on Winx to win. If we cash it in, we’ll make a profit of about 4 cents. I think we will just leave it where it is as a topic of conversation over Easter. I think that might be the reason we jump on board when a sporting ‘hero’ comes along. It keeps the conversation light, and away from politics, religion, race and the problems of the world.
Some of the quotable quotes about Winx last Saturday included … “She brought us so much happiness”, “She brings out the best in us”, “She belongs to all of you”, “She affected all of us in so many ways”. In the post-race interviews, we heard from everyone from the owner, trainer, strapper, blacksmith, trainer’s wife and kids, jockey’s mother, and of course the alcohol affected punters who were all in love with their favourite horse. Pure escapism for a few hours from our own first-world problems. We’ve loved this riches-to-riches story for the last 4 years, but who is going to take her place as our ‘hero’ as she goes off to her tropical island to eat grapes and be fanned by bikini girls?
Imagine for just a minute if one of our politicians became a hero that we could cheer for in the same way we backed ol’ Winxy? Could it possibly happen? What about a scenario where we cheer one of our groundbreaking scientists, or fundraisers, or academics in the same way we cheered Winx? Will we ever get behind either Prime Minister Morrison, or Prime Minister Shorten in the same way that our friends across the ditch are behind Mrs Ardern? One thing’s for sure, as we eat our fish on Good Friday, we’ll keep it light, steer away from serious dialogues and talk about the 4 cents we won on Winxy.