Verb of the Week - Lead
By Donna Ambler on 28 March 2018
In the midst of the biggest Australian cricket scandal since the underarm incident of 1981, the verb lead came to mind this week. It seems that Steve Smith, the man we thought had the qualities to hold a job some Australians believe is second in importance to the nation’s Prime Minister, does not have the qualities we thought he needed to lead our national team after all.
The man who was carving a spot for himself in national folklore that would put him above even the legendary Sir Donald Bradman had a spectacular fall from grace in South Africa last weekend. The only good thing he has done as a leader in the past week is to come out early to take the blame for the disastrous ball –tampering incident dubbed #tapegate.
Among the definitions for the verb to lead listed by the Collins Dictionary are: to show the way; to guide; to cause to act, feel, think, or behave in a certain way; induce; influence. Above all, leaders set an example. And when it comes to cricketers, a lot of the people they are setting that example for our junior players who admire them from afar.
In an opinion piece for the ABC online, associate professor of Sports Management at UTS Business School, Daryl Adair described the incident as the “moral equivalent of doping” and described it as a desperate attempt to be more competitive.
“How do coaches and parents explain to these impressionable youngsters that the captain of the Australian men's cricket team is a self-declared cheat and that he and colleagues persuaded the most junior player to break the rules in a desperate attempt to be more competitive?” he wrote.
Sponsors and fans have expressed disgust in Smith and other members of his so-called “leadership team”. So now Smith faces a troubled road ahead: he’s been stripped of the captaincy, suspended from the next test, fined and lost sponsors—before Cricket Australia has decided on other possible sanctions, which some suggest may include a one-year ban. Even if he were to regain the captaincy, it’s tough for a leader to recover and to regain trust after a situation that shows a lack of integrity.
Whichever way you look at it, Steve Smith let his team down. Worse than that, the Australian public, fans, sponsors and Cricket Australia feel incredibly let down.
So now we need somebody who knows how to lead and will lead with integrity, honesty and unwavering commitment. It’s rare that we find players of the calibre of wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist who famously walked off the field during a crucial World Cup semi-final 15 years ago when he knew he was out.
As American footballer and coach Vince Lombardi is regularly quoted:
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”