North Melbourne premiership player Winston Abraham revealed how his 11-year-old son beat him for the top prize at the NAIDOC Cup on Monday when he was the special guest on this week’s episode of Inside The Ropes.
The WA Golf Club hosted the second staging of the NAIDOC Cup on Monday and it was an all-Abraham family affair at the top of the leaderboard after Winston’s youngest son Gary snatched away the top prize.
“My son won the overall and the B-Grade and I won the A-Grade,” Abraham said.
“It was a funny story because the group I was playing with – I had a 67 nett – and they were saying to me: ‘You might have a chance of winning’.
“I never thought about winning but then I saw my young bloke who is 11 years old come around the corner and he says: ‘Dad, I had 64!’
“I thought ‘what?’ and I said: ‘Who are you going home with today?’ I would’ve heard it all the way home.”
Abraham played 110 AFL games for Fremantle and the Kangaroos in a career that was highlighted by winning the premiership in 1999, while he also completed the set in terms of Goal and Mark of the Year, winning those awards in 1996 and 1998 respectively.
The 42-year-old now spends most of his time, like a lot of parents, ferrying his kids around to various sporting endeavours with the golfing bug having bitten both of his sons, Ethan and Gary.
Both are members at Gosnells Golf Club – 16-year-old Ethan made his debut for the reigning Division One men’s Pennants champions this season – and Abraham spoke about the significant role the club has played in helping his boys to follow their passion into a game he admits he had shunned until his late twenties.
“I remember at North Melbourne a few of the boys would play golf, Corey McKernan, and they’d say ‘come and have a hit of golf’.
“I’d always say: ‘Nah, I don’t want to chase around a little white ball, what do I want to do that for?’ But when I had my knee operation and I didn’t think that I’d play again I came back home and I had an uncle of mine who was playing off a six handicap and he said ‘come along and play golf and do something different’ so I started playing golf.
“I was 29 when I started playing and I really enjoy my golf lately. We have an aboriginal golf group over here (at Hillview Golf Club in Kalamunda) that play every Saturday and we get down there when we can – when the boys aren’t playing in their junior comps.”
Abraham knows the importance of sport in helping to shape young lives from his own experiences and, in an honest chat with the ‘Inside The Ropes’ team, revealed that he thought that football saved him from prison.
Abraham believes that golf can provide a similarly important pathway in life for aboriginal kids too, pointing to his sons as proof, although admits there are still significant hurdles to be overcome.
“We’re trying to encourage aboriginal kids to play golf,” he said.
“Hopefully we can try and get other kids involved and I try and get Gary and Ethan to encourage other kids to play golf.
“A problem a lot of the kids face is just trying to get to lessons and games because aboriginal people don’t see golf as a sport that their kids can play – and it’s expensive. I know the amount of money I’ve spent on my kids over the last two years. I see golf as a better culture for my two boys.”
There are initiatives in place to grow the game amongst the aboriginal community, with an Indigenous Combined representative team set to play at the Australian Schools Championship this year, while GolfWA Game Development Co-ordinator Billie May was only last week in the Pilbara delivering clinics to schools.
At the NAIDOC Cup on Monday clubs from around Perth joined aboriginal players on the fairways and Abraham hopes it is the green shoots of a lasting partnership.
“Yeah for sure. The good thing that they did on Monday was that there was 12 clubs that had two or three representatives and that was really good to have them there and build that relationship.”
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