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The Comfort of a Loss is Reconciliation

It was a long walk to the car after watching my football team, West Coast Eagles receive another masterclass in football dominance via the Western Bulldogs. We lost by 101 points which brought our average loss over the past 7 games to 81 points.

We can only get better. Each player needs to “Be brave. Make change”

That is what we need to do to reach a goal. “Be brave. Make change”

And this was the mantra for the AFL Indigenous round.

In 2008 the AFL launched a round called Indigenous Round and gave clubs the chance to lead, learn and respect Aboriginals and Torres Strait people and their culture.

The tradition has exploded with custom designed jumpers accompanied with player connection and opening ceremonies equal to a grand final.

And Saturday night’s extravaganza was no exception.

Congratulations to CEO Trevour Nesbit, his team of creatives and Optus Stadium for putting on such an impressive, moving and informative Reconciliation celebration.

Let’s look at what they covered.

  • On the big screens a story was told about the 6 Aboriginal seasons – Birak, Binuru, Djeren, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang

  • On the field a traditional dance and smoking ceremony was performed.

  • On the stage an inclusive “Welcome to country” was read out accompanied by the great Willian Brian Dempsey MBE.

  • From the roof we heard the chilling but melodic sounds of the digeridoo.

  • Around the ground synchronised lights red, black and yellow of the Aboriginal flag flashed.

And the message was clear – “Be brave and make change.”

As I crossed the Matagarup Bridge, illuminated in the colours of the Aboriginal Flag, I reflected on how far Australia has come in my lifetime.

I feel as a Nation we are making real progress towards embracing diversity and inclusion and eliminating the stigma of racism. I understand we still have a way to go, but at least there is a pathway to follow.

There is always a silver lining to any mishap. The Eagles losing was hard, but being further educated to reflect and celebrate Australia moving forward with Indigenous diversity and inclusivity was uplifting.

So be brave and make change so all Australians can be the best version of themselves more often.

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