Which soccer fans remember in 2014 when the then Prime Minister Toby Abbott referred to World Cup Socceroo captain as 'Mike' rather than his birth name 'Mile' (no “s”) on the eve of their match (next day) when they lost 1-3 to Chile.
Then World Cup captain Mile Jedinaks who played in the English Premier League, hence most of us non-soccer people didn't know his name either - and it was no surprise to me that our then Prime Minister called him Mike rather than Mile.
Soccer is not my thing. To be perfectly honest, should any one ask me to name some of the surnames of our illustrious multi-million earning Socceroos I'd be hard pressed to do so. The World Cup and the Socceroos is of some interest to me, but not something I would even consider staying up for. Hockey is my passion (author of 5 books on hockey).
But the media at that time went into a frenzy that Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Mile 'Mike' – I rather liked the name 'MIKE' for the Socceroos. My son is a soccer man so I texted him at that time, before their first World Cup match suggesting, that MIKE might be booking an early flight home.
In point of fact, whenever the subject of Soccer comes up, we both know of whom I refer when I mention the name 'MIKE'. It's kind of stuck – the Socceroos are MIKE. As I don’t know any of their names, any soccer player now is also MIKE.
But names other than your birth name are very common in Australia – we all get nick-names of some description. One of my school buddies still refers to me by my school nick name whenever he Emails.
Just look at the sporting teams across the nation and their nick names. The women's hockey team are the Hockeyroos. The men's team are the Kookabuarras. The national Rugby League team the Kangaroos, the Rugby Union team the Wallabies. New Zealand is the same – The All Blacks, the Silver Ferns, the Black Sticks to name but three.
Pakistani cricketer of the 70s Miandad was given the name 'Dave' by the Australian cricketers of the era after the traditional Australian cinematic cult figures of early Australia – 'Dad and Dave' – hence Miandad pronounced as “me and dad” - therefore 'Dave' … makes sense to me !
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor and opening batsman is known as 'Tubby' for his physical shape while many a tall man gets the nick name “Stretch” and red haired men get the name “Bluey” - it all makes sense if you understand the prerequisites.
My plumber is known as 'Moose' his long established nick name and I'd dare say that only his tax return, his mum, the census and his doctor, would ever refer to him by his birth name.
The ‘Christians’ was a nick-name
Many may not be aware that it was in Antioch that the early followers of Jesus Christ, originally known as “Followers of the Way” were given the name “Christians” - ie the followers of Christ. A bit like how the Apostle Paul writing to the Christians in the City of Corinth wrote to the “Corinthians”.
Politicians get nick names, business and corporate leaders get them, school teachers get them, even preachers get them. The late Reverend F P McMaster MBE of Canberra Baptist Church (my mentor, a remarkable man of God) was given a nick name by his fellow Baptist minister peers, “The Bishop”.
Baptists are non-conformists without church hierarchy but if you'd every read Animal Farm by George Orwell you'd be aware that some are more equal than others.
Immigrant children learn very quickly that getting a nick-name is the means by which in the Australian culture you're somehow recognised as being part of the group. It's a kind of an initiation. One of our former young writers from China was given the name 'Oscar' and its stuck - even his articles were by-lined with ‘Oscar’.
Basil Sellers Sport-Art Prize
The bi-annual Basil Sellers Sport-Art Prize $100,000 – 2012 winner Jon Campbell art work titled “Dream Team” was a depiction of sporting nick names. The Basil Sellers Sport-Art Prize at the Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne University) was followed by a three month exhibition.
So when our Prime Minister wished the Socceroos the very best and sends Mike and the team the very best, in some way, they have come of age, it's a step up into the mainstream of the mainstream. As the Socceroos are not inspiring on the world stage, I doubt whether I will ever be able to say, ‘Well done MIKE!’
It always puzzles me why MIKE’s coaches (over the years), have not sought out the famous Kookaburra Coach Ric Charlesworth on the subject of “winning”! Now there's an idea MIKE!
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. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html
Photo - Cricketer now in television sports news Ian Healey nick named “Heales'.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children