Adam the Original

Years ago I had the privilege of working in partnership with a Brownlow Medallist. Dr Donald Cordner was the scion of a family as distinguished for Medicine as for football. I learned many things from Donald: it was he who transformed me from a sluggard to a mechanism for perpetual motion. Like my father he personified a thirst for a meaningful life both within and without medicine. 

Donald captained the Melbourne Football Club in its fertile years of recurring premierships. Of the Medal he spoke seldom and little. I remember one datum: the Charles Brownlow Medal is awarded to the player voted by the umpires as the FAIREST and the best. Over the twenty years we worked together that described Donald Cordner: he was the best at everything he put hand or foot to; and he personified honour.


Like Donald, Adam Goodes captained his club. Like Donald he saw a role for himself in community service. Like Donald, Adam Goodes is a leader, a man of vision, of substance.


In 2003 we saw Adam receiving the first of his two Brownlow Medals. Although he shared the distinction that year with two other champions – one of whom captained the club of my own allegiance – it is the image of Goodes that lingers. More particularly the choice of his companion. Alone among the great young men, Adam brought his mother along, the sole parent who raised him and his siblings. Goodes’ mother contrasted with the other companions, generally blondes, frequently trophy females with cleavage.

Mrs Goodes looked what she is, an Aboriginal matron. Nothing fashionable – read, ‘mutable, evanescent’ – just his Mum, the woman Adam Goodes chose to raise to public honour.


When I looked at this man, this original, I saw one who stands for family, for loyalty,  one who knows his roots and is proud. Like his ethnically distinctive medallist forebears, Robert Dipierdimenico and Jim Stynes, Adam is Australia incarnate. He reminds us of our inextinguishably diverse makeup. That diversity, for most Australians, is our glory; for some an intolerable truth. When those persons boo Adam Goodes, they boo their community, they boo themselves.



10 thoughts on “Adam the Original

  1. By stark contrast on my Facebook page is a video concerning the death of a maori teacher from a school in N/Z. it shows the hearse driving into the school then one hears sounds, and the scene swings to the all male students and teachers perform one of the most inspiring, spine tingling, and impressive hakas I’ve heard or seen, then the entire school bowed their heads as the hearse drove between them. there is that aboriginal word yet again RESPECT! xxx


    • Thanks for this Bruce

      My computer led me to a bloke on the footy show who hectored the absent Goodes, calling him a jerk for divisive conduct

      It was meant to be taken seriously

      I was seriously nauseated

      But the footy club audience, a rabble in search of a fuhrer, roared their applause

      Depressing in the extreme

      Kiwis by contrast, have absorbed Maori culture, appropriated it, made it part of their being
      And as a result show reverent respect

      I may emigrate

      But if I did I’d no longer share a country with Adam Goodes, Waleed Aly and Bruce fisher


    • Thanks, ronaldo

      It occurred to me that celebrity is the enemy of authenticity

      Adam, adam the original, ‘adam’ the Hebrew for Everyman, this Adam is the goods, the real thing, authentic

      A public fed on screen based pap can be confounded by a person of depth, of heft, of gravitas

      Such persons model genuineness

      We won’t always enjoy the salutary reminders they personify

      Thus Pearson, Goodes, Langton lead us
      They don’t demand we like or love them. Decency and wisdom demand we respect them.

      It just happens in Adam’s case I love everything about him



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