Recently in The Guardian was a fascinating article on male emotion in football described as "a gorgeous thing". Birdie Jabour acknowledges she is a North Queensland Cowboys fan and loved the annual emotions of grand finals where real men cry and weep and demonstrate love to their tiny tots and children.
"It's a time for blokes to put their feelings on display without raised eyebrows; to touch and celebrate each other with sheer joy," Birdie Jabour writes.
Again: "When Kyle Feldt put the ball on the line to even the score as the final siren of the game rang out, men who had been friends for 20 years, who'd barely give each other a pat on the back on their birthdays, hugged each other and screamed ecstatically until they were hoarse."
And this: "When the Cowboys claimed the premiership, men got to jump and down in ecstasy, hug each other over and over and over, and weep, and even kiss each other on the head. And they did it again and again. It was probably eight minutes before that roar dulled. I heard a father say that his adult son had never hugged him so hard in his life."
Moreover I liked Birdie Jabour's final paragraph: "There's a truth to it. At the football men could be crying for relationships past, screaming with happiness because of how much they love the person next to them, yelling out every frustration they have at work. They can hug their best friend just because the moment says do it, and not a single person passes judgement. That's grand final football – and it's a gorgeous thing."
I concur. It is a gorgeous thing.
Other male emotions
Football is not the only place where male emotions erupt and given freedom by all and sundry.
As a Baptist minister of 38 years I have seen father's erupt in the depths of despair as they buried their sons or their daughters. I conducted the funeral of a five year old little girl killed on a pedestrian crossing by a car which in turn was hit from behind and thrust it forward. The father wept and wept the entire way through the funeral service.
On another occasion I buried a young boy, 14 years of age, thrown from the back seat of a car, and the father at the end of the service burst out with cry's of anquish and heartache as he lamented the death of his beloved boy. I could recount similar situations over a life time of ministry. Football is not the only male expression of emotion.
At the opposite end of the scale I have witnessed, and this includes me, tears of utter emotion at a wedding, a graduation, a celebration, seeing in a New Year and many others beside it. These too are agreeable male emotional expressions where a father is overjoyed.
I have had to wipe away many a tear – our four children in turn leaving home for tertiary studies, at graduations, weddings, seeing my son off to England where he lived for 7 years - albeit I am the one who takes in the tissue box at the cinema. My wife is Mrs Stoic and Mrs Cold Frog combined.
None of this is new
The Scriptures are replete with such stories of men with emotions. We read of Adam's despair when he realised his disastrous decision. Cain's emotional outburst. Enoch when he walked with God. Noah's delight when the raven didn't return to the ark.
What about Joseph's inability to hold his emotions as he met his brothers coming for grain during the seven year long drought. Moses as he killed the Egyptian guard. What of Elijah when he heard that Jezebel was on the prowl, and Nehemiah getting permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then in the Gospels the stories are just as 'emotional'. Joseph was at desperation point as Mary was about to give birth. John the Baptist and his passion for the one of whose sandal he felt he was unworthy to unite. Peter's relief when Jesus' healed his mother-in-law (all husbands might register this one). When Jesus called the religious leaders 'white washed tombs' and again turning ober the money changers tables in the temple forecourts. The Scriptures say 'Jesus wept'.
The Letters and the Epistles have just as much emotion. What about Peter and John telling the cripple they had neither silver or gold, but what they had to offer was far greater. How many times was Paul jailed, whipped, ship wrecked .... plenty of male emotions in all that as he tells us.
Wherever this idea of a stiff British upper lip came from and men don't get emotional is so far from being reality.
Men, be yourself, be as you are designed by God, emotional. Your women will think its gorgeous!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html