Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The race that stops a nation.

I was thinking about the ‘race that stops a nation’- The Melbourne Cup. It brings punters out from everywhere to place their yearly bet, to hold Bar-b-ques, it’s an opportunity for men and women to dress up 'all nice' and attend the Race, hopefully invited to a marquee, to drink too much, and as is the sad case, be seen to leave –staggering about with shoes in hand, and much worse for wear. This one day creates jobs, milliners create hats, outfitters create outfits and sales of booze skyrocket…  Horses have names such as ‘So you think’, ‘Profound beauty’, Precedence’ and ‘Shocking’. The Age newspaper reports that one betting agency is expecting to turn over about 100 million dollars today. This is just one betting agency. I can’t help but feel uncomfortable with all of this. Sure we need fun, revelry, Bar-b-ques, hats, fashion and booze, but why does the word ‘excess’ spring to mind?

I work with people for who just a few extra dollars, would make a world of difference to them. The Main race today, race seven- ‘the Melbourne cup’, has a prize pool of 6 million dollars, this is just one of ten races. I can’t help but wonder how we might still have fun, enjoy life, laugh, have a drink, a bar-b-que, dress up, look great and channel some of this money to those who really need it. The 100 million dollars that just one of the betting companies is expecting to turn over… well…lets be honest, how many of us place a bet and win? If just half of this money went to those in need, how much better would cup day be for all of us? 50 Million dollars, WOW!!! How much good could be done with that? How much happiness, joy and hope could it bring to others less fortunate and in need, and we could still place our losing bets at the race track and have some fun.  Every one’s a winner! 

It’s a fact that when it comes to fund raising and charities, children’s charities capture more hearts, and do much better than fundraising for homeless alcoholics or drug users. Even saying that, The Royal Children’s Hospital ‘Good Friday Appeal’ this year raised a record 14.4 Million Dollars!!!. When we compare that amount to all the money that will be spent today on the ‘race that stops a nation’ I wonder what this says about us as a nation and our priorities.  

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