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Greyhound racing – something to be proud of

By Colleen Murphy

Recently I attended the Victorian Greyhound Awards for the very first time.  Full disclosure – I work for GRV so I was part of the team that carefully studied menus, video packages, room set up etc so that it could represent how we wanted everyone to feel – celebrated and valued.

I just loved it.  The food, the room, the table decorations, the video packages – all represented what we wanted – that our industry is proud, respected and celebrated. Of course, all that is important but there is one thing that makes this night and sets this industry apart for me – the people.

Ah, the people looking fabulous and spiffy. With every chat, every acceptance speech, every cheer, I had that lovely feeling of pride to work with and for the people in the room.  Every single trainer, owner, breeder and their connections represent what I value most about working with this industry.

The support that is offered to anyone – new to the industry or a veteran – without judgement, given with such generosity.

They are always careful to add that they don’t know best, they got lucky, had a great dog.  It’s the great Australian understatement.  Anyone could’ve done it with this dog, maybe even better.  Someone’s having a tough time?  They’ll chip in, do what needs to be done, without ceremony, with a grace that makes it easier to accept the support.

No one goes on about the hours they worked, the dawns that broke when they were already up and about, the hot days, the cold nights, the worry, the stress.  In some industries it sometimes seems like an Olympic competition on how hard I work, how busy I am, how important.  Not ours. People get on with it.  They don’t expect awards or trophies or medals – the best thing ever is if their dog gets a run, has a good run; wherever it places.

Walk into a greyhound club across Victoria and anyone in the room will give you the time of day.  They might have a beer or two with you – but without that culture of binge drinking, loud and boisterous behaviour.  You can bring your kids or your grandma and anyone in between and you know they’ll be safe, be accepted.

How many places do you know where it is routine for generations to share a passion and a love that brings them together?  Teens, toddlers – they all find their place. They all regularly catch up, share their passion and their pride.  Many families are flat out simply having a meal together but multigenerational?  That’s rare.

When I think about the people in this industry, I think of what Don Bradman said:

“When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his or her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.”

Pretty much sums it up for me.  Thanks everyone, for letting me be a very small part of it.

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