on the road with moff

During the day-to-day combat of running a club, either as a Manager or Director, we tend to forget that the people we interact with are actually human beings, and they do have lives outside of the work environment.

I know a lot of Managers who have very different lives outside of work, and because we only associate on a professional basis, this side of their lives is not readily known. This may be a good thing because if you knew what they did in their ‘other lives’ then you would look at them in a completely different light.

Most Club Managers have some ability at playing golf, some of them better than others. Some Managers play off a very low handicap and a few off scratch. However, most play by the edict that a good scorer will always beat a good player. I’m in the brigade that golf is just an excuse for a drive around a scenic park with an esky. I’m pretty good at scoring as well!

It’s surprising the number of Managers who are involved in the Sport of Kings. Personally, I don’t know how they can afford it, but that’s an argument for another day. A group of Managers had success on Magic Millions Day, needless to say the tip wasn’t made public knowledge.

A Manager on Brisbane’s north-side has had a pretty good run of horses winning races at very juicy odds. And you guessed it. The tip goes out every time it runs a shocker and not a word when it wins!

I must admit that I have had a lifetime love and association with horses. I had a horse that won a three horse maiden at Murwillumbah in 1979 and you would have sworn we won the Melbourne Cup. We backed the horse to win, won prize money but by the time we paid the bar bill we lost money on the day. Smart operators, nothing much has changed over the years!

I have even had a dabble at breeding thoroughbreds. I managed to get three to the track and sold one and kept two. Yep, you know where this is going. One of the three won five races, while the other two were beaten home by the ambulance. It is too painful for me to point out which horse won the races.

There’s a couple of prominent (well in their own minds) Club Managers who have been heavily involved in the trotting game. Owning, training and driving the red hots. It’s probably a good thing they got out before the recent inquiry.

Most of you know about the phenomenon called the ‘mid-life crisis’. I’ve been through it and came out the other side unscathed. I’ve done it all – motor bike riding, parachuting, scuba diving, losing weight, and putting it back on again. But there is one mid-life crisis I have not undertaken – that’s cycling.

It is a little disturbing the amount of Middle Aged Managers In Lycra (MAMILs) getting around. I know, it’s an image you can’t unthink. But in all honestly, they are clocking up hundreds of miles on weekends, and most of them for very worthy causes.

I’ll stick to the bikes with motors, and it’s interesting the number of Managers who are stabling a Harley.
But of all the, what I call, ‘left field’ activities carried out by Club Managers I have come across, there is one which I found the most intriguing and genuinely interesting – parrot breeding. The Manager will remain anonymous to protect the guilty, but I have been entertained for many hours over a couple of beers with the insights into this secretive industry.

Birds selling for over a hundred thousand dollars, deals done in darkened car parks, identities kept secret and shady aliases all make the settings for a classic novel. I reckon this guy’s stories would make the Underbelly series look like play school!


The moral of the story is that we are all individuals, and our work persona is usually not the person we are away from work. So the next time we are butting heads with a Manager, Director or member, just take time to remember that deep down, we are all human beings, it’s just that some people show it more than others.

There is usually another side to the characters we interact with on a daily basis, and if we take the time to uncover and understand that other side, we could just have a better appreciation of our workmates. Just don’t ask about the parrots!