DAVID PENBERTHY

Sunday Herald Sun - - Opinion -

they en­ter the real world and try to get a job or form a re­la­tion­ship they will find that fail­ure is nor­mal. In­stead of pre­par­ing them for this re­al­ity, we are set­ting them up to be shocked by it.

I have just hung up my whis­tle af­ter four years as coach of my eldest son’s pri­mary school foot­ball team. To pinch a line from the great Gideon Haigh in re­la­tion to his team of toil­ing am­a­teurs at the South Yarra Cricket Club, my ap­point­ment was a tri­umph of avail­abil­ity over abil­ity. De­spite hav­ing no tal­ent as a foot­baller, I found the role ter­rif­i­cally en­joy­able. Weirdly, it was of­ten at its most re­ward­ing when things went wrong. Like ev­ery ju­nior sports teams there were a few times when our team ei­ther faced or in­sti­gated episodes of phys­i­cal vi­o­lence, ra­cial abuse and bul­ly­ing. There were oc­ca­sional ten­sions within the team be­tween the more tal­ented kids and the bat­tlers, or kids who were deal­ing with

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