As many of you would have picked up on by now, I do enjoy sport. 

All sorts. 

I love the narrative, the spectacle, the event, the preparation, the games, the highs, the lows, the purity of competition and the camaraderie. So much so, that the sports I most favour, most enjoy, I also like to have clothing that identifies my interest / connection to those sports. 

Whilst many people have their clothing reflect the cycle of nature and its seasons, my wardrobe better reflects what sport competition is in season around the world. MotoGP, WRC, NRL, AFL, WTA, ATP and the NFL are my tier one sports that I have numerous t-shirts, polos, race shirts, jackets, caps and hoodies that I wear. 

Now to be clear, I only wear them whilst the ‘season’ is in action.

Sadly, I am no longer wearing any Essendon clothing this year as the pitiful Bombers had an early exit from the competition as we once more underperformed… Arghhhh! But, I do sit here, writing this week’s newsletter before the sun is up, and I am wearing my Melbourne Storm hoodie as I await this week’s first final against the Brisbane Broncos.

It is funny being a Storm supporter in NSW, where my team is not well regarded by other supporters… lucky I don’t care! What I do care about though is that when I see another Storm supporter in their colours, we instantly connect via our tribal support for our team and a nod, a hello and brief chat is often the outcome as we congregate in enemy territory.

But it does not always work that way.

There is a disturbing trend emerging in society where people are wearing sporting themed clothing because it looks good NOT because they support the team in question. 


Case in point, sadly, in the last few years, as merchandise rights are changing and more NFL clothing is appearing in Australia, I am seeing more and more Miami Dolphins t-shirts and jerseys: a team I have supported since the early 80’s. What is shocking me though, is that over 95% (unverified statistical exaggeration to make a point) of those I ask how come they are a Dolphins fans, are in fact NOT Dolphins fans: they just bought the shirt for the colours! 

This happened again just this week when I saw a family out and about and the mum had a Dan Marino #13 t-shirt on.

Marino is Miami’s most famous quarterback and a league legend. So, I was horrified when I made a passing comment of, “nice to see another Marino fan” (I have his signed helmet at home in my memorabilia collection), to then hear the words, “Who? Oh, the name on the back of my t-shirt, I was wondering who that was”. To which her husband laughed and said “Told you this would happen one day”. 

We all then shared in the joke about sporting ignorance and window dressing: and I walked away with a thought growing in my mind…

Its not funny though when we consider this as individuals and our life.

Its not funny when we claim to be one thing and then act in contradiction. Its not funny when our words and our actions do not match. Its not funny when we selectively chose when to be a person who acts with integrity and then at other times is willing to take short cuts. Its not funny when we claim to value others, their opinions and views but then disregard, diminish and discount at will.

Not funny at all.

It’s not funny to speak as if we live with character, and then act out as if we are nothing more than a caricature.   

It’s not funny to live as window dressing: to just do it for the colours. 

The Bible even has something to say about this in James 1:22 where we read “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Authenticity is the key: words plus actions equals who we are. Because at the end of the day, at the end of our days, talk is so cheap.

We are all leaders; we lead self, we lead teams, we lead classes, groups and organisations. Our careers, our work, our calling cannot afford to be viewed as window dressing by those we meet, those we support and those lead. 

So, check yourself in the mirror today. Check and see if the character you are wearing is fit for purpose, that you have the right character on, and not just one chosen for the pretty colours.

No room for window dressing.


Now, let me go find a mirror.


This word of encouragement for Christian educators was written by Dean Bennetts, and distributed in The Bridge newsletter in 2023. Dean is the CEO of Adventist Education in North New South Wales, Australia.