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Amateur (One who loves)

One of the really significant changes that occurred during the 20th Century was the transition (certainly not seamless) between society’s attitude towards our greatest sportsmen and sportswomen.

The knights in shining armour – the amateurs – were a protected species not tainted by the dirty money that was received by those dreaded professionals who, heaven forbid, played the game for money and not for the love of the game.

Even in easy going Brisbane I recall the proud announcement at my golf club that the professional was to be allowed into the clubhouse to have a drink. Bobby Jones, America’s best golfer in his day, was the subject of intense debate because he was paid for golf course design and should therefore be banned from competing in his country’s open championship.

Rugby League formed as a breakaway group because Dally Messenger sought to sell his outstanding talent. Roy Emerson won 17 Grand Slam tennis titles partly because the players who could match him had lost their amateur status.

How times have changed.