Monday 20 August 2012

Roy of the Rovers - a lesson in fair play?

Last week’s demise of The Dandy brought to mind another childhood source of entertainment and insight, Roy of the Rovers.
Like most other 10 year olds, each week I eagerly awaited the arrival of The Tiger comic, featuring the life and times of Melchester’s star player.

Fair Play?
However, on one shocking occasion, a rival player, in full view of the reader, but out-of-sight of the referee, actually flicked the ball with his hand to enhance his shot. This unlawful move so outraged me I rapidly scanned the rest of the strip in vain for evidence that the move had been noted as the subject of a penalty, at least..
My sense of injustice was such that for the next five weeks I was on the newsagent’s door-step by opening time, awaiting delivery of the latest edition to check whether the authorities had taken any action..

Gradually it dawned on me that perhaps football, life and even business itself was not always fair.

I then began to wonder if there were other potential career-enhancing insights available via Roy’s storyline?

A source of continuous education…?
Unlike more gently-reared modern players, Roy enjoyed a 39 year playing career, until the loss of his foot in a helicopter crash in 1993. To keep the strip exciting, Melchester was almost every year either competing for major honours or struggling against relegation to a lower division, allowing repeating opportunities for readers to develop their numeracy skills, especially in calculating the odds in each scenario.

Planning & focus?
The strip followed the structure of the football season, thus providing  great awareness of deadlines, the need for planning and teamwork, but especially the ability to optimise output within the time constraints of a match, against rivals intent upon minimising the impact of such endeavours.

Global reach?
Geographical insight was enhanced via the team’s foreign travel. In the several months each year when there was no UK football the most common summer storyline saw Melchester touring a fictional country in an exotic part of the world, often South America, where they would invariably be kidnapped and held to ransom.

Negotiation against the odds?
During the first ten years of his playing career, Roy was kidnapped at least five times. This obviously enhanced readers’ negotiation and financial skills, helping them to distinguish cost and value of experience and longevity in a high-output career…

Career application?
Given the benefits of this source of inspiration and early induction, readers that later chose a NAM career appeared to arrive ready-made, exhibiting the ability to demonstrate "real 'Roy of the Rovers' stuff", displaying great skill, or results that went against the odds, in their dealings with the UK trade….

And often without the benefit of much formal training, curiously enough…

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