Since joining the blogging-set I have had the pleasure of interacting with people all over the world, which has been truly enjoyable. A few of the conversations have come from people who live clear on the other side of the planet, and some of who view Australia as an exotic outpost at the bottom of the globe. Perhaps in some way it is. To Australians it is simply home, and one that has many cultural similarities with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand to name but a few. As someone who works in the aviation industry and has traveled somewhat, going to these countries feels very familiar.
There was one particular person who asked me whom I admired or looked up to. Once I responded with my well-worn list, the reply I received was ‘What? Isn’t there one Australian man you look up to?”
I had never thought about it that way. In truth, I love my country very much but I’m not into die-hard nationalism. Nor am I into looking up to other men for the simple fact that they share my gender. In truth, the others on my list were mostly female. But it got me thinking, that as a male, which famous Aussie ‘blokes’ align with the man I consider myself to be most like. There are proudly quite a few to choose from. May I add, that the reason I am narrowing this conversation to admiring ‘famous’ people for this exercise is simply for their instantly identifiable name. Giving an obscure name to someone across the planet will not elicit as much understanding as perhaps the following names will. So without further ado…
Patrick Rafter – as a tennis fan I was pleased to see that nice guys can finish on top. When he won the US Open in 1997 & 1998, climbed to the top spot in the rankings and contested some wonderful matches against some of the greats of his generation (some he won, others he lost), I watched as a teenager with pride that Aussies were being so wonderfully represented by such a hard-working, fair minded and genial sportsman. In the world of competitive sports (really, any entertainment industry), where the stakes are high and to be monstrously self-centered is to be expected, even exalted, it was refreshing to see that you can squeeze the best out of yourself and not lose yourself in the process. That has stayed with me.
Keith Urban – simply put, what’s not to admire about a person who has achieved an insane level of success in his chosen field, has married and fathered children with his soul mate (who happens to be a talented artist in her own right) – and remains a genuinely humble and grateful man who is down-to-earth and relatable. In an industry where people pretend to be magnanimous for public adulation, you can spot the real thing. I’d like to think I share his genuine nature, easy humor, kind temperament and his loyalty and protectiveness over those most dearest to him. That to me is the epitome of being a gentleman.
Hugh Jackman – as a film lover (and someone who once loved singing, dancing and acting up on stage), how can you not respect someone who (like Keith) puts family and loved ones above all else while fashioning an enviable career in Hollywood without succumbing to its infamous trappings? To be talented, be able to make fun of yourself (which is a uniquely Aussie characteristic), enjoy life and simply be a nice person…these wonderfully grounded traits are ones that really should be emulated more than they sometimes are.
Thank you gents, for standing so tall.