Brown follows an honourable line
ou’re a long time retired’’ and ‘‘ What about the World Cup?’’ were two strong messages some football fans delivered to All White Tim Brown after he announced he was off to study in England.
Brown, 31, has indicated that when the Phoenix’s run in the A-league finals ends, he will head to either the London School of Economics or Cambridge University to study for a masters degree in management.
Already Brown, a Wellington College old boy, has studied at the University of Cincinnati and he seems poised to make a big impression in the world of commerce.
He would have played at the 2010 World Cup but for injury, and has always been one of the Phoenix’s most honest toilers.
To judge by the reaction of some sports-mad New Zealanders, you’d think he’d announced he was having a leg chopped off.
It’s not as if plenty of New Zealand sports stars haven’t travelled overseas in search of extra academic qualifications.
George Aitken, the All Blacks captain against the Springboks in 1921, was a Rhodes Scholar in 1922. He was followed decades later by All Blacks Chris Laidlaw (1968) and David Kirk (1985).
Two running greats, Arthur Porritt and Jack Lovelock, were Rhodes Scholars.
Porritt headed to Oxford University in 1923 and the following year won a bronze medal in the Chariots of Fire Olympic sprint final in Paris.
Lovelock left in 1931 and went on to set world records over the mile and 1500m and to win a famous Olympic gold medal in the 1500m at Berlin in 1936.
The downside was that these two great New Zealanders never returned home to live, though Porritt had a spell as GovernorGeneral from 1967 till 1972.
Selwyn Maister, an Olympic hockey gold medallist in 1976, had been a Rhodes Scholar in 1969.
In 1988 All White Ceri Evans followed the well-trodden path to Oxford, studying experimental psychology.
It’s not just Oxford University, though.
Peter Snell waited until after his running career was over before going to the United States, where he gained a BSC in human performance at the University of California, a PHD in exercise physiology at Washington State University and became an associate professor at the University of Texas.
All Black captain Wilson Whineray took a year off rugby to gain an MBA from Harvard University and Anthony Mosse combined swimming and study spectacularly well in the 1980s and 90s.
He won an Olympic medal in 1988, graduated from Stanford with a BA (Hons) in 1989 and earned an MBA there a few years later. More recently, 1988 Olympic rowing medallist George Bridgewater retired so he could study for an MBA at Oxford University.
And Anton Oliver has used his post- All Black years industriously, reading for an MSC in biodiversity, environment and management at Oxford.
These and other champion sportsmen have not been content to rest on the laurels they earned on the sports field.
They should be our heroes, not the sports stars who cash in on past glories by endorsing products they know little about or rush into media positions when they have little to say and don’t know how to anyway.
Tim Brown is following an honourable line, and I salute him.
Using his head: Tim Brown, right, who is forsaking professional football for studies.