Is this enough?
We’ve got a new hero this week. A King.
A knock-about kinda guy who is so humble he skipped a traditional drinking session after his big win and instead went on “Daddy Duty”, according to the tabloids.
A man whose first act when he won the prize of his life was to embrace his partner and child.
A good man, indeed. But what does it say about us that a man who shows love and respect to a woman is such a celebrated oddity?
The hero I am referring to is Johnathan Thurston, the dynamic player who made Sunday night’s NRL Grand Final one of the most exciting ever.
The 32-year old whose photo of him and his gorgeous daughter clutching a toy doll instantly went viral.
A great bloke. The King of the North.
Let me firstly state there is no doubt Johnathan Thurston is a great role model for young footballers and indigenous youths.
There is no doubt he displays good sportsmanship in a time when so few do. There is no doubt he will go on to be one of the greatest players the sport has seen.
There is no doubt he’s a great father, has two delightful little girls and appears to be a loving and devoted husband.
But seriously, isn’t that what we should expect from a man? Really? That he loves his children and treats his partner well?
Is the bar so low in our male role models that completely ordinary behaviour seems worthy of extra special adulation?
“He’s the kind of guy we want our sons to grow up to be,” is what everyone is saying on daytime radio today.
Sure, as a mother of two boys I’d be proud to call him my son. But I’d like to have a few more to choose from. And I’d like them to have a few more role models to choose from.
The damning thing is that we are so used to misogyny in sport these days anyone who shows a decent attitude towards women is immediately elevated to hero status.
I’m not talking about his obvious sporting talents – that’s hard to deny – but why are we so delighted that a bloke skipped a beer or two with his mates to go spend time with his family? Why are we endeared when he thanks his partner when he wins a medal?
The reason is simple: Because there are so few good guys in sport these days. He is indeed a rare breed.
In a month where a former great of the game, Andrew Johns, allegedly drunkenly harassed a woman at an airport questioning one on whether they had a “caesarean or not”, and asking a mother-of-three for a kiss we hold on to nice guys like Thurston for dear life.