TAKE A MOMENT to step into Adam Goodes' shoes and look at life through his perspective.
This column has already argued how looking at the last chapter of Goodes' career should make you uncomfortable. Two documentaries on this are a second chance to have the difficult conversations we need to have in our communities right up to a national level.
A Greater Western Victoria Rebels' special screening of The Australian Dream this past week was a great reminder what should be next.
The Stan Grant-penned film, unlike the earlier released The Final Quarter, includes modern reflections from Goodes but also controversial figures key to the plot in Collingwood president and broadcaster Eddie McGuire and columnist Andrew Bolt.
Regardless of where your views sit on the spectrum, The Australian Dream offers a strong reminder to look at issues through the eyes of others. This story is about race issues within Australia but this core theme could be adapted to other major social issues, like women's equality or LGBTIQ+ rights.
Even if it means listening to a little McGuire or Bolt to better understand what is really going on.
That is when the real conversations about what is happening in Australia, in our communities, can be made. How we might go forward.
There is a return to McGuire's live radio remarks likening Goodes to King Kong. This was in the days after McGuire had personally apologised to Goodes, in the Sydney rooms, on behalf of his club after a 13-year-old Magpie fan calling Goodes an ape over the fence for an AFL clash. Goodes had called out her actions.
McGuire can call his radio remarks a gaffe, or poor choice to create humour when tired all he likes, but these remarks could easily have made at a barbecue or to mates over a beer. Casual racism. And he got caught.
A little like controversial radio host Alan Jones telling a private Liberal Party function the then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father died of shame from her lies in 2012.
These are undercurrents a reasonable person, looking at life from the perspective of others, would call out.
It also make us consider our unconscious biases.
Education is an important tool to better understand each other and have the difficult discussions we need to evolve.
This is the message the Rebels hoped all those in their special screening of The Australian Dream took from the cinema. It is a message they hope all who watch the film during its run in Ballarat will take away too.
Goodes is a Rebel. He was drafted from our under-18 talent program in 1997.
What Goodes achieved and continues to achieve from finding his voice remains nothing short of remarkable.
In football Goodes' decorated record is high-profile. Football is the space where Goodes developed his identity, learning who he was. Sport is the platform that allowed Goodes to call out racism, casual and blatant, ultimately putting race on the national agenda.
Goodes is undeniably a pivotal figure for disrupting the Australian conversation, making us really think what is acceptable in our everyday talk and actions. But the brutal crowd reactions to this also forced him from the game.
In the community space Goodes is a diligent and quiet achiever particularly in championing for indigenous Australians. Goodes and his brother Brett are working with the Rebels to create indigenous scholarships to help boys and girls follow their footsteps.
The Rebels program has a strong culture on fostering well-rounded role models. Key to this is understanding and empathy - that is a lesson we can all take from this Rebels' story.
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