The power of Richmond on Friday night, inspired by Dustin Martin, was one of the great football stories of the weekend. It was awesome. Chilling and thrilling for Richmond fans. It came from a team that has struggled through wasted seasons for decades and looked like it was heading that way again before this year even began. Pressure on the Coach. Pressure on the Board. Players being castigated that they were not good enough by the fans and the media. It was the same old story.
Then the wheel turned. Other than the addition of Neil Balme to the Football Department – an important move in itself – it seemed that the same people throughout the organisation had become physically and emotionally reenergised. It has been inspirational. What happened? It’s hardly likely that Damien Hardwick or his sidekicks are going to divulge anything but I found one of the clues in the Herald Sun on Monday and I’m sure it featured on television over last weekend. It’s called “sweeping the sheds” and it got me googling and buying a book.
“The skipper was cleaning the change rooms of rubbish as the last man out.”
Television cameras left on in the Tiger rooms well after the end of the game, and unbeknownst to their Captain Trent Cochin, found the skipper “cleaning the change rooms of rubbish as the last man out.” As the article goes on, “Cotchin was adopting an attitude endorsed by the All Blacks, the most dominant force in world rugby…. in a message that you are not too big to do the small things that need doing.”
It was written as a minor byline in the context of a much bigger game story, but it captured my attention as it was simple but far from simplistic. It is actually an action we can all undertake in life, whether it’s at home, in the work place, around our friends, in the world at large. It is a simple way of being the best we can be-not in an egotistical way but in a humble way. Cochin was doing it privately and expecting no recognisable reward. He knows the reward comes in the action itself.
I Googled “Sweeping the Shed” and it led me to “Legacy”, a book by British author James Kerr. It tell us “what the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life.” In a short video, Kerr uses the words “A meaning beyond profit”, which I think is one of the essences of life which is the hardest to grasp. It is the one percenters that are spoken about in sport which can make a huge difference in the end result yet play no part in the game plan. The All Blacks have an 86% winning legacy. I remember playing with Richmond in the early seventies when the Tigers were a force and my teammate Francis Bourke was a champion. He was exceptional in all aspects of the game but it was the way he would selflessly throw himself onto an opponent’s boot to smother the ball, without fear, which captivated me. There was no statistical reward but his teammates all walked taller and consequently played better.
“We can stop floating around in our head and start working from our hearts.”
We can all sweep the shed. We can stop floating around in our head and start working from our hearts. The husband helping out with the dishes at night – your wife’s had a hard day as well; the boss making his own coffee for a change, and perhaps making one for his PA; role changing and making sure we all start doing some of the things we leave to others- usually more menial tasks.
Cochin was actually doing a job he didn’t have to do. He was doing something which is left to the cleaners. Those people who enter the dank rooms of the stadium at the dag end of the day with their buckets and brushes. If it sounds sad, it actually is. Imagine the spark of humanity these cleaners would experience when discovering that someone seemingly more fortunate than themselves had helped out. “Maybe our job is not as bad as it seems.”
I would love to hear from readers with their own examples of cleaning the shed. In the meantime, I’ve got a book to read. Legacy. I’m hunting for clues.