Hello all

It has been a rough morning!

Geoff and I were up at 5.30am to go to the Airport with Alice and Violet to say good-bye to their father as he sets off for East Timor for two years but it was the sadness of the good-byes that broke our hearts. Still, we managed and waited forever (it seemed) until that plane taxied out to the runway as I consoled a distraught five-year old Violet. When she began to pull her big sister’s hair (after 30 mins of waiting) then I knew everything was going to be ok!

While we were waiting for Steve to board the plane, we sat across from a chap reading The Australian newspaper and a headline on top of the Sports section came into my line of vision. It screamed out:

“Monkey was on our backs, says Ponting”

What does that mean I wondered? It is to do with the cricket obviously. Now I am home, I have got the paper and read the article. For all you people ‘out there’ who know nothing about cricket (I know a little and only vaguely remember this incident) I will explain it.

Basically, in 2008 Australia was playing India in Perth and one of the Indian players (Harbhajan Singh) called an Australian player (Andrew Symons who is dark-ish skinned with dreadlocks) a ‘monkey’. Oh dear, those cricketers sure know how to ‘sledge’ don’t they?

The Aussie’s were furious and demanded a hearing to ban the Indian cricketer! (Strange, but it usually happens the other way around with the Aussies calling the Indians names!)  Well, there was a hearing and Singh was banned for three games. then there was a ‘to-do’ from India and the charges were dropped and it went on and on.

So now, Australia has this ‘Monkey on their backs’ about the whole incident. They called it “Monkeygate“. So now as Australia faces India in Perth again this year, the poor old Aussies are carrying this ‘Monkey’ around with them and it’s threatening to destroy them!   

And exactly why do we say that we have a monkey on our back? I ‘Googled’  it of course! Here is what I found:

                            “A monkey on your back is anything at all that you find to be a constant burden. You have to finish your BA degree for advancement at work or you are about to win a tennis match etc. It s a bad habit you just cant seem to shake.”

Sports people particularly, are good at using this terminology. They always seems to have monkeys on their backs! Of course, it is in their minds but we all know how this invisible ‘monkey’ can stop us from doing what we want to do. Particularly if we want to succeed at something. Have you ever noticed that? Just when you are close to success, you can feel the pressure and then…the downhill slide begins.

It is not only sports people who have these monkeys. I remember in 1996 I was in the last weeks of exams to complete my university degree. I was very aware that I was the only person in my family (of six children) who would have a degree and I felt nervous.  It was accepted that the three boys could study but not the girls. ‘Girls get married and have babies’  my mother told me in 1962 when I wanted to be a teacher! (How things have changed!)

So here I was at a crossroads. I wanted to panic and run away. That Monkey had me by the throat and it wasn’t about to let go!! How would I bear this responsibility of being the only one who had succeeded? I knew my brother John would have loved to study Law but was only given permission to become a teacher because he was paid to do so by the Government. We were a ‘blue collar’ family after all.

So I made a decision to just keep going one day at a time and see what happened. When the last exam loomed, the Monkey gripped on even tighter. I could feel him! But I sat for that exam and I left the room feeling as if I could fly. Phew, the monkey had leapt off and was gone somewhere (probably onto some other poor soul in a similar state of mind..)

So you see, you Aussie Cricketers – you CAN do it! Just get up, go out on that pitch and keep going! If there is anyone ‘out there’ struggling with one of these Monkeys, you know what to do. Don’t listen to it. Put your head down, pray like mad for help and keep going…

There is a saying which I cannot remember exactly, but it goes something like this:

                        “It’s not our failures that challenge us most, but our successes” 

Be willing to be a success dear friends, and use the talents God gave you. For some, it is far harder than failing.

Until tomorrow.