A QUIET ONE WITH DOCTOR BERNARD CHRISTIAN (Hawk fan)
Punter talks sport in the front bar of the Napier Hotel in Fitzroy with Australians making the world a better place.
Bernard Christian is one of Australia’s most highly regarded medical researchers. The former surgeon, tall and earnest, ordered a single glass of Tasmanian Riesling.
PUNTER I am honoured that you could fit in our humble column, thank you.
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Our current strategy is to create a public groundswell that forces governments to recognise the need for proper funding of medical research or suffer at the ballot box. I will speak to anyone with a forum that reaches enough people. You are going to tweet this interview, aren’t you?
PUNTER Sure, I’ll do that. Are you a sports fan yourself?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Not so much. I don’t have the time to sit around watching other people play … You reach more than 10,000 eyeballs, don’t you?
PUNTER … Sure, I think so … for sure. Yes. Lots of eyeballs. How do you count one-eyed people? One set of eyeballs?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Did you know that the Foundation to Fight Blindness in the US has raised over $500 million? Its first chairman owned the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Jose Sharks?
PUNTER No, I didn’t know that …
BERNARD CHRISTIAN (reading from notes) Did you know that former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo has donated over $15 million to build hospitals in the Congo?
PUNTER Ah no …
BERNARD CHRISTIAN (reading) Eli … Manning … gridiron player …
PUNTER Yeah, New York Giants quarterback, two Superbowls …
BERNARD CHRISTIAN … $2.5 million for a children’s hospital …
PUNTER We have plenty of generous sportspeople in Australia, they just don’t earn as much as Americans. Smaller market ...
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Oh. How much do they earn?
PUNTER Andrew Bogut, a basketballer playing in the States earned $16.2 mil in 2014.
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Is that all? Oh well. Do you have his number?
PUNTER Ah, no …
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Anyone else over $10 mil?
PUNTER Adam Scott and Jason Day are both great golfers, very consistent …
BERNARD CHRISTIAN That’s all? Just three of them? Aren’t we supposed to be a sports-obsessed nation?
PUNTER Aussie sport really does raise a lot of charity money.
BERNARD CHRISTIAN This isn’t charity, it’s an investment in a healthier future. Research and development is a cornerstone of any sane western society.
PUNTER Right. Of course. So who do you barrack for?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN I believe it is the Hawthorn Hawks.
PUNTER You don’t know?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Oh, you know, I humour my little daughter. She is a keen adherent of the Auskick phenomenon and follows the Hawthorn club so …
PUNTER So you don’t get along very often?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Well we go to all the deciders, they have them every year.
PUNTER Grand finals?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Yes, the last game, in September. Big crowd, lots of money around, I made good connections last year at the contest with the Sydney Swans team.
PUNTER Did you enjoy that, the Hawks winning?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN Identify the goal, assign resources in a timely manner and exercise prudent leadership and success is inevitable. Any undertaking can appear daunting at the outset, but if priorities are properly analysed and talented, motivated employees operate with discipline and teamwork, an optimum outcome is unavoidable.
PUNTER A happy club at Hawthorn, eh?
BERNARD CHRISTIAN The esprit de corps was palpable. They provided yeoman service.
* This article is entirely fictional, apart from the cause. Don’t suspend your disbelief for that.
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