It was announced today that Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart received an Order of Australia (AM) for his charity work with the Ricky Stuart foundation.
If you’re not aware (and you are, so sorry for telling you something you already know), Sticky and his partner Kaylie started his foundation to provide short-term respite to families with children with a disability. He did so after his own daughter was diagnosed with autism. The foundation has grown and is currently looking at expanding into providing housing and supported independent living for adults with a disability.
This recognition of Stuart’s work is a timely reminder of the wider world outside football. As Stuart himself identifies, helping people is a two way street, one that not only does good but makes people feel good. It’s an important lesson to the players around the club that there’s more to life than football, and that your contribution off the field is more important than what you do on it. As a someone who obviously is a bit into the Canberra Raiders, it’s also nice to see the figurehead of the club so keenly involved in making his community better. It’s also good that the club itself full supports him to continue this work.
It’s also a reminder of the potential of rugby league as a bulwark against the ills of society. So often rugby league is held up in the papers as an associate of the bad things in the world, when really it is a reflection of the world we’ve created. Like for you and me, there’s good and bad in these little spheres of existence. We should remember the duality of that nature, and remind ourselves that when we have the ability to do better, we should always try. As a football club, and as a sport, rugby league has an ability to reach into people’s lives and influence them in a positive way. There’s countless examples of footy players being more than just that, and this might just be to biggest. So it’s nice that Sticky has been recognised for this work.
So a resounding congratulations for Stuart from all of us here at the Sportress. Here’s hoping his work outside footy continues.