Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria (BSRV) are thrilled to welcome Mr. Charlie Pickering as the new co patron of BSRV alongside Mr. John Landy AC, former Governor of Victoria. Mr. Pickering is an Australian television presenter and comedian. He currently hosts The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, a weekly news satire television show on ABC. Mr. Maurice Gleeson, President of BSRV was invited to be interviewed by Mr. Pickering last year on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.
Co patron of BSRV Mr. John Landy said “I am delighted to welcome Charlie Pickering to the role of co-patron of Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria. I thoroughly enjoy my involvement with Maurice, the executive and our members and I look forward to working alongside Charlie and sharing the honour with him.
On hearing of the appointment of Charlie I thought it was a perfect fit as both Charlie and Maurice share a compassion for others and a great sense of humour. While we have enjoyed an exciting growth period over several years, the addition of Charlie, his expertise and his networks will help develop future sport and recreation opportunities for members of our community who are blind and vision impaired”.
Here’s Charlie’s reflection on what the role means to him.
“I was introduced to Maurice Gleeson through a work colleague. He said Maurice could be an interesting bloke to interview – he’d had a few setbacks in life but was a cheerful bloke who’d found something he loved doing. That something was Blind Sports.
I went along to a practice session for a group of blind and vision impaired tennis players who were getting ready to head to Spain to represent their country. I was made to put on goggles that completely blocked my vision, given a racquet and a handful of instructions and proceeded to embarrass myself swinging wildly. I was no doubt a danger to those around me, but I didn’t care. I had a ball. So did everyone I met. All of them told similar stories about how their vision impairment had made them feel disconnected from the world and how Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria had helped them to reconnect.
We spend a lot of time, money, airtime and ink on professional sports in Australia. Our sports people are held up as not only role models, but heroes as well. I was a sports mad kid. I played every sport I could – cricket, football, hockey, basketball, tennis, even golf for crying out loud! I dreamed of opening the batting for Australia and kicking the winning goal in a Grand Final. Preferably in the same year and preferably both at the MCG so my mum could be there. Succeeding in sport loomed large in my idea of what a life well-lived would look like.
But what I didn’t realise at the time is that the true value of all the sport I was playing was how much I enjoyed life while I was playing it. I made friends, felt connected to a community, breathed a whole lot of fresh air and was having fun every minute.
That’s what I felt when I played blind tennis with Maurice and his players. And it’s a big reason I’m delighted to be a patron for Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria. When sport is fun, it brings people together. And that should be available to everyone”.