Local author tackles racism in sport

by KIERAN PETRIK-BRUCE
6th June 2022

SPORT IS OFTEN considered the great equaliser.
Nelson Mandela remarked that “sport has the power to change the world.
“It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
The End of the Game is by Warrandyte-based author Michael Fiddian and explores this notion through the eyes of Tom Wallace and a small fictional country town called Duneldin.
It is September 1992, the whole town is enveloped in footy fever when the under 18s win through to the Grand Final – a feat not seen for 22 years.
Tom had only moved to Duneldin from Melbourne at the start of the year, and while he missed his friends and life back in the big city, joining the football club certainly helped him make friends and find a place.
One of the players in particular, Albert Edwards, was quick to strike up a friendship with Tom.
So when Albert is racially abused by some of the local parents, Tom is stunned and feels uneasy and unsure as to what to do and how to react, and despite all the celebrations in the lead up to the Grand Final, Tom is sure Albert has payback planned but has no idea what.
What is powerful about this story is that some 30 years after it is set, in 2022 the kind of racism that Albert faced is still very prevalent.
Author Michael Fiddian set the book in September 1992, three months after the Mabo Decision because “that (time) was meant to be the cusp of change.”
Throughout the book, Tom struggles to truly believe and understand how easily this kind of thing happens, and as readers we are challenged with issues of race that we may not realise exist all around us.
Tom is meant to be a bystander with a conscience, and the whole week in the build up to the game, he has inner turmoil as to what he should do and say, and how can he fix this.
Yet this is not something he can just fix and in the end the realisation is that he does not have any idea what it is really like.
As Michael Fiddian explains: “Albert realised he might win a battle but he is not going to win the war.
“Writing this (story) is trying to help win that war.”
This is a must read – footy fan, or not – the issues tackled in the book are ones that are not confined to the white lines on a Saturday, nor do they just exist between the four quarters.
They exist after the end of the game.
After the end of each and every game.
The End of the Game is published by Fairplay publishing and available as both paperback and ebook from fairplaypublishing.com.au or at good bookshops.