Thursday, 17 February 2011

If you had the choice between an author

or a footballer visiting your school which would you choose? I would want the author but I fear the footballer would win every time.
There is something decidedly wrong with this. (At this point Nicola Morgan will say I am being assertive, probably aggressively so, and most people will probably stop reading.) I know football is football and, as such, is incredibly important to some people. Football, particularly the Australian Rules version, takes up an enormous amount of air-time and newsprint in South Australia. It seems everyone has an opinion on the subject. My father and I share the same view - we do not wish to be bothered with football.
It seems however that football clubs are about to send more of their players out into schools so that their adoring young fans can meet them. While there the footballers are supposed to provide lessons in "life skills", a job to which most of them are uniquely unsuited. Footballers are apparently good at kicking footballs. It does not necessarily follow that they are good at other things, certainly not the moral instruction of the young. Indeed, the majority of footballers I have heard are remarkably inarticulate. I would no more trust them with the moral instruction of the young than I would any other sports person, celebrity, religious leader or a good many other people.
On the other hand there are many writers I would trust. No, not all - William Mayne was an unfortunate exception and there may well be others that have never been discovered. Nevertheless most writers have been through a rigorous screening process. Most have an agent who has first seen their work. Then there will be those who publish their work. There will, possibly, be people who will review their work in the press. In the case of books intended for children adults will also have read the book.
It is surely difficult in these circumstances to write something morally sound and not be of sound moral character oneself? It could happen but, when we write something, part of our character surely goes on display as well?
I know that people will go on admiring the physical skills of the footballer or other sportsperson. They will remain heroes to young children who will be in awe of their ball skills and perhaps, at least for a short time, wish to emulate them. That may be no bad thing.
But I do wonder what would happen if we introduced more children to authors. I think it would be a good thing.


Sheep Rustler said...

AUTHOR!!! AUTHOR!!! AUTHOR!!! But sadly more children do react to footballers. Fortunately my kids have been at schools where they do both - though not simultaneously! They both seem to remember the authors more.

Anonymous said...

Author every time but it will be the footballer that gets there.