in this morning's paper - this one is, yet again, is about the declining amount being donated to charity. And yes, there may be something to be concerned about. Donations to charity have, if the article is to be believed, dropped by about half in the past twelve months.
One reason given for this is that people have less disposable money. That may be true. There is an overall feeling that people are spending less altogether.
Another reason given is that big sporting clubs have been appealing to their fans to keep their membership up so that their clubs do not "go under". Sport, it seems, costs a lot to keep these days.
Once in a while I go past the buildings belonging to one of the league football clubs. The oval is green and well maintained. The buildings are spacious. There are the buildings around the oval itself and there are more buildings across the road at "the club". The premises are licensed. They have "gaming machines". I do not know what else they have but I assume there is an office suite of some sort at the very least. There will be a kitchen because meals are supplied at "the club". It is, no doubt, nice. What it all costs to run must also be astronomical. I wonder if it is necessary?
When we lived in "the bush" there was a weekly ritual for many people throughout the winter. They would go to "the footy" on Saturdays. There was a club of sorts and club rooms of sorts around a rough oval maintained by the team members . They would raise just enough money to cover essentials with a "chook" raffle. There was no grandtstand. People sat in their cars, on camp stools or - more likely - stood there to watch the players. The players were not paid and they paid for their own boots and guernseys. If one of them was injured in the course of the match then it was understood that his team mates would help out on his farm or at his job until he recovered.
There would be a "footy tea" - always the same simple meal supplied by the women while the men had a drink at the pub. Yes, it was very sexist. There would then be a "footy dance" with someone playing the piano. the drums and perhaps a piano accordion or other instrument. The dances were old-fashioned although the tunes, depending on the pianist, might be a little more up to date. The kids played outside in the dark - unsupervised. The teenagers canoodled and got hauled in occasionally by more vigilant adults. The men congegrated at one end of the room when not dancing. The women sat around the walls. At the end of the evening everyone helped with the clean up and, more often than not, the women drove home while their men slept beside them.
On Sunday at church, which many of them attended, they would reminisce and pull the game apart - and sometimes the evening's entertainment too.
There was money left over for charity. It went into the church collection plate knowing it paid for the minister or priest and for the Flying Doctor or some similar service.
There were many things done back then we would now consider "wrong" - but do we really have it "right" now?