I teach angry young men to fight. I know how they feel because I used to be one of them. As a professional boxer and also an Anglican priest, I’ve seen disaffected kids find a sense of worth, discipline and community by entering the ring.
I understand the impassioned debate about violence in Kings Cross and I agree that alcohol and late opening hours are a problem. They are, however, merely drivers of street violence, not the cause. In my opinion, what leads young men to such apparently random and senseless aggression runs much deeper.
I started our Fight Club, essentially a boxing gym at our youth centre in Dulwich Hill, more than two decades ago, when the local streets were awash with heroin. In all those years I have looked many young men in the eyes as we have sparred in the ring and I have learnt a lot about their lives.
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So Melbourne and Manly have each been fined $50k for their little bout of fisticuffs on Friday night. Good. Maybe that’ll teach them both a little humility.
Fact is, the huge all-in at Brookvale Oval on Friday night had very little to do with the faint elbow nudge from the Storm’s Ryan Hinchcliffe which sparked it, and everything to do with the ill-feeling which has been simmering at both clubs for ages.
Both clubs consider themselves hard done by at the hands of the NRL – the Storm because of the salary cap scandal and the Eagles because of the Brett Stewart affair. With NRL CEO David Gallop on hand on Friday night, those pent-up frustrations were just too much to contain.
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Developments in computer hacking, Australian politics, and an acrimonious meeting in Denmark have produced the unlikely result that climate change is now almost as hot a conversation topic as Tiger Woods’s sex life.
With our ready-reckoner guide to global warming barneys, you too can have a circular argument in which all facts are disputable and no insult is too cutting when climate change comes up in the pub, at a barbecue or during tea and biscuits at your next Liberal Party branch meeting.
And best of all, there are no losers because by the time the arguments are proved or disproved either way we’ll all be dead.
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