Fatheroos and Socceroos – we have a lot in common. We both make mistakes. We have our wins and we have our losses. We need encouragement. We need our fans. We need our coaches and we need to work hard at training to get better.

The similarities between the challenges of playing for the Socceroos and being a father are striking to say the least. As Samuel Goldwyn famously said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”.

As Melanie Pinola said, “There are few true overnight successes. Behind what looks like sudden success is often years of work, trial and error, and failures. But the harder you work, the more good ideas and chances you may make for yourself.”

Ray Gatt in his article called “Socceroos fall agonisingly close to Netherlands in World Cup Thriller” tells the story well.

Australia’s chances of progressing to the second round of the World Cup are over, but they didn’t end without a courageous fight.

Australia surely won the hearts of world football after going down 3-2 to Holland in a pulsating, remarkable game at the Esatdio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre in front of a near-sellout crowd that was kept engrossed from start to finish.

The Socceroos gave as much as they got — even more — in a performance that will give huge confidence for the future of the national team and the sport in Australia in general.

“I just wanted the players to get the reward for the way they went about things today,” said Socceroos’ coach Ange Postecoglou after the enthralling match.

“I have put a lot of pressure on the players and the staff that we are going to be a certain type of team and take it to world class opposition, but it is one thing saying it and another thing doing it.

“They did that today but didn’t get their reward. It’s heartbreaking and massively disappointing.”

Australia out played, out thought and out ran the Dutch for large parts of the game, only for the class of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben to be telling factors in the end.

Any vague hopes Australia had of progressing to the second round ended when world champion Spain were beaten in a later Group B match by Chile, leaving the Dutch and the South Americans unbeaten and assured of getting through.

Once again, Tim Cahill was a hero for the Socceroos, scoring his fifth World Cup goal and surely etching his name as the country’s greatest player of all time.

Craig Foster, SBS world cup commentator and former Socceroo, said it so beautifully when talking about the Socceroos brave fight against Holland:

“We Australians, we hate to lose. We hate losing, that is obvious. . . The World Cup is a new level for Australian sport. You have to be here to learn. We have come to the World Cup to test ourselves. We learnt a lot today. What we also did was show the world that we have been working hard and we can play football.”

‘Fos’ then shared a powerful insight regarding the people who had criticised him for having a ‘losing mentality’. “We are going to win in the future. Sometimes you have to lose to win.”

As fathers we have to take encouragement from Craig Foster’s words, “You have to lose to win”. We often learn more from our mistakes than our successes.

I will always remember the day I refused to go and see my daughter sing one of her own songs on one of her last school assemblies before her final exam. My reasoning was flawed. I had seen her sing all over the world while playing in our family band. We had recorded together, travelled together and probably done over 500 concerts together over a fourteen year period of her performing life.

Her first appearance was in the Newcastle Mall where she stopped the whole mall. I would like to think it was my voice, my songs or even my family that caused everyone to stop and listen but I know it was our beautiful four year old daughter with a great voice and lovely red hair. There is a saying in showbiz, “Never compete with animals or children”. How true!

My beautiful baby daughter was now a nearly grown up daughter who was going to sing her own song in front of her own school.

My excuse for not going to see her was that I was busy trying to help other dads be better dads. What a hypocrite I was! As Marlene Dietrich said, “A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither”. That day I realized that Marlene Dietrich was right and subsequently asked my daughter’s forgiveness.

Today I spoke to her to make sure my facts were straight. She pointedly told me, “That was four years ago Dad, I can’t remember”! I was glad to hear it.

Forgiven is forgotten, but just like the Socceroos I’m still learning. Aren’t we all?


As Dads we all make mistakes. The main thing is that we do the best we can and learn from them. We must always ask our children for forgiveness when we make a mistake, and then take encouragement from the words of former Socceroo, Richard Foster, “Sometimes you have to lose to win”.

Yours for winning fathers
Warwick Marsh

PS. Dads4Kids has a goal to raise $50,000 in the ‘Help the Children Appeal’.

We have now raised $2,710. Only $47,290 to go and $1,645 in matched funds still available! However the good news is that we been given a further offer of $10,000 of matched funds from a generous donor. In other words every time you give $25 it becomes $50. Every time you give $100 it becomes $200. Every time you give $1,000 it turns into $2,000, right up to the value of $11,645. Your Tax Deductible Gifts of $11,645 will turn into $23,290.

You can phone through your credit card donation on 02 4272 6677.
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Published On: June 21st, 20140 Comments

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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