The recent Kookaburras' victory under Charlesworth's watchful eye in the Champions Trophy that despatched Germany 5-3, the Olympic and World champions, after having been 1-3 down at half time was an astonishing result.
What an amazing turnaround! The Kookaburras, rather than being seen as the lackeys of Germany, pulled up their socks and began to play an attacking game; it was a great revival on the part of the Kookaburras in the Final that saw them overturn their pool's round effort and kept scoring.
During the matches within this Champions Trophy played in Melbourne, the Kookaburras scored 30 goals and broke the Champions Trophy record with a spree of 10 goals against Spain. However, they allowed Germany to score three goals on two separate occasions, their pool's round match and in the Final.
Although this turnaround is something to crow about, Ric Charlesworth nevertheless recognised problem areas that placed the team in difficult situations in the first place.
He is characteristically never complacent, and he made the following comments:
"We made some very bad errors in defence, we know what our problems are and we have a lot of work to do." He then continued: "There will be some changes (in the player line-up), our World Cup team (New Delhi, India from 28 February) won't look like this."
The Kookaburras have some pre World Cup games in Perth in late January; including a couple against Argentina and possibly one against Spain.
Ric Charlesworth's concerns about defence are very real indeed.
What fascinated hockey connoisseur and former amateur player, Mark Tronson, who wrote 5 books and numerous press articles on field hockey for 24 years to 1994, is the nature of Ric Charlesworth's comments.
"Charlesworth has not only expressed the normal philosophy in our workaday world; 'work hard, get the results, receive the rewards'; but he has also echoed the Biblical message which states that all our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in God's sight," (winning the tournament wasn't anywhere near good enough) remarks M V Tronson.
"However, there is a stark difference between the way Charlesworth said he would rectify the problem, and the way the Bible explains Christianity," continued Mark Tronson.
He explained the difference by pointing out that Charlesworth had told his team, that although they are the victors, they are still no where near good enough and the axe will fall in those whose performance did not come up to scratch. That there was an overseer who would 'weed out' the weaker players so they would not get a chance in the next competition.
This is the norm for this world in which we live. If you don't perform as expected, there is a coach, or an employer or a boss or a teacher, who will suggest that you should no longer be in a position to even try to get better results.
In his role as Baptist minister, however, Mark Tronson says the difference is that, the Gospel says that God does not remove the weak links, but that He has put in place a Saviour to make the whole chain work well, regardless of how weak you are as an individual.
"Our limited minds cannot comprehend God's love because it comes with no strings attached. He doesn't love us if we have done A or B; he loves us unconditionally." says M V Tronson. "The Apostle Paul asks, 'Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?' (Romans 8:35). The central message of the New Testament is that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners."
Jesus died on the Cross for our sin. As a result, we have salvation, which is a gift from God, it is all God, nothing of our part. The problem for man is this idea that we think 'performance' must equal 'reward'. The Gospel says that, no matter how good your performance, it is not good enough. It fails the test that God sets, which is perfection.
"I could not have thought of a better example of how these two world views are so similar yet so opposite as Ric Charlesworth's coaching comments provides," states Mark Tronson. "Herein lies the great difficulty for many, as the Gospel doesn't show that performance equals reward."
The Gospel provides another 'world view'; that in which Jesus, the perfect man, the sinless man, died on the Cross in our place for our sin, and this is a Gift.
"It is all His Grace. Nothing of what we have done comes into play. It is mind-blowing," concludes M V Tronson. "This Grace is available to all who repent of their sin and receive Christ into their lives as Lord. Christ performed, not us, and God has given us something we don't even deserve."