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Monday Moment: 20 seconds of courage

Emma Grey

Every so often you find yourself in a scenario where you know you have an opportunity to do something, but you’re nervous or apprehensive or unsure about it. It happened to me on Thursday on a flight from Canberra to Sydney.

Two rows behind sat three of the Diamonds—our newly-crowned World Champion netballers—in their green and gold tracksuits. They’d been at Parliament House that day for an official reception with the Prime Minister.

My daughter is in her seventh year of loving netball and had watched nearly all of their games on TV. Her idol, Sharni Layton, was right behind me. I spent the entire flight trying to work out whether or not to say something, or ask for an autograph, congratulate them on their win—or just leave them in peace…

Nobody else had disturbed them by acknowledging who they were during the flight—even the flight attendants serving refreshments, despite their obvious Australian sports uniforms. Was that the right thing to do? I was at war with my inner fangirl!

After the plane landed, while we were queuing in the aisle and they were still seated, I thought, ‘it’s now or never’. I asked if they’d mind signing a piece of paper for Sophie, and their faces lit up.

What was truly beautiful, though, was what happened next. Nearly everyone in the front few rows of the plane—people I hadn’t realised would have known who these athletes were (middle-aged business-men and elderly women)—joined in congratulating the three women on their win, their attitude, the positive sporting role models that they are for our young people amidst a lot of negative publicity currently, about other sportspeople. I clutched the page with their autographs and smiled and enjoyed the moment we were all sharing on the tarmac there together, waiting to disembark.

They assured us that they don’t receive much attention, and were lapping it up. I was so glad I’d decided to speak up, despite feeling nervous about doing so. In a parallel universe they’d have disembarked, clearly dressed in our national sports attire, and would have had no recognition from the people on our flight, including me.

My daughter was in tears when I called her and sent her a photo of their autographs. It made her day, and mine and, while I’m sure the Diamonds had already had their day made with an official reception at Parliament House, I hope they also enjoyed it when the front section of our flight told them what their achievement meant to each of us.

I think that’s what I loved most. Not the excitement of the autograph, but the experience of grasping an opportunity to acknowledge someone for something they’ve done. We have opportunities like this, often, and sometimes we let them pass without saying something.

On this note, I’ve started a personal challenge on Facebook. Every day, for as long as it takes, I’m going to acknowledge one Facebook friend and tell them what they mean to me, remind them of our shared story and share a memory about them. The tweens and teens do this. They call it a ‘TBH’ (to be honest) post.

Would you like to join me? I’m calling it the #TBH Project. Let’s use social media to deepen our friendships and tell people what they really mean to us.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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