Back in our Missionary days in South Africa, we started corresponding with a couple from Western Australia and have continued to do so since our return to Australia some 8 years ago later this year, but had not met them before.
This changed last week when they came over to Melbourne to watch their son, who lives over here, run in a 24-hour Marathon in Coburg.
Being about 40 kms away across town we are not that familiar with that side of Melbourne, but had heard of the Harold Stevens Athletics Track where the event was being held, before, as back in the early 70’s there was a local controversy there when it came to naming this then new reserve. Some wanted to name it after a former famous Olympic Gold medallist who had done some training there, while others wanted to name it after a local son and member of their club, Coburg harriers. And so in 1971 the local son won out and so it was that the other day my wife and I went to the Harold Stevens Athletic Track, to meet some friends and see their son run in the race for a short time.
While there we had a look in the clubrooms and saw lots of pictures and memorabilia and even some photos of the great man himself. Thus later when one of the competitors, when passing where we were, and looking past us, shouted, Hi Harold”. We were able to ascertain, when looking ourselves, that this was the great man himself.
Now looking at the shambling old man hanging on to his walking frame and gasping for breath, it might seem that I am being sarcastic when I call him the Great man, but considering that he is into his 70’s and has spent half of this year in Hospital at or near death’s door, it showed the man's greatness and dedication to his club, to at least be in the Clubhouse when events are on. I was also touched by how people from the club rushed to help with genuine love and concern for Harold and His wife June Showing.
At this time I decided I should go over and say hello, so went up and spoke to his wife June, who just happens to be one of my cousins, but one I haven’t seen for a few years. (Just thought I should put that in as some sort of public discloser.) Now back to Harold. Even though he cannot do much these days, he has still set himself the task of collecting replica uniforms from the clubs 100 plus years in existence. Yes, he does need help even with that, but still he is helping and contributing to his club, and not resting on his laurels and past achievements as a top runner in his prime.
So yes Harold Stevens is a great man and one worthy of having a ground named after him. But again what about us? We may never have anything named after us, but will we continue to contribute to our community over and over, throughout the years? Or are we just going to be Flashes in the Pan? Maybe doing some thing worthy for a little while and then not able to do anything else because we are too busy living in the past.
Let us learn from this truly great man and just keep on contributing to our community, even if it is a little less than we could last year.