Waiting to play a gig one Saturday evening I observed two children playing in the car park at the back of the venue. They were no more than 7 and they had one bike between the two of them. They took turns to ride it down a steep hill, turn sharply around a parked car and then come to a quick stop before they hit the fence.
Improvised fun, making a game out of nothing – I loved watching it!
The mood darkened however when one child took two goes in a row. The other child started shouting at her – things like ‘It’s my turn’, ‘You had two goes’, ‘That’s not fair’. He was angry – convinced he was right, but hurt and upset that the other child didn’t seem to care. His emotions were laid bare for all to see, but he didn’t care, he kept fighting for what he perceived to be his right to a turn on the bike.
The gig was put back a half an hour so I walked up the road to find a pub which was showing the Kildare v Mayo gaelic football championship match. There had been a bit of controversy about the game earlier in the week so I was keen to see how it played out.
What had happened was that the ruling body – the GAA – had tried to take Kildare’s home advantage (to which they were entitled) away from them, because they could fit more fans in a bigger, neutral venue. Kildare believed this to be unfair, and insisted they wouldn’t play the game unless it was played in their home ground of Newbridge. Eventually the GAA backed down, agreed the game would be played in Newbridge, and Kildare backed up their off-field statement by winning a match on the field that they weren’t expected to.
Fairness, or the perception of something being unfair can be a powerful driver. The world is a better place when we forget about other people’s opinions of us and simply stand up against what we believe to be unfair.