My junior soccer team is clearly too young to have much of a memory or a connection with the late, great Les Murray. However, his legacy cannot be overstated. I am sure almost every parent on the sidelines has heard Les's svelte tones as he passionately spoke about the sport he loved for decades.
I would love to sit all the team down before the game and persuade them of the importance of Les Murray. But I know that won't help them. They will have to discover him over the next few years through old clips and books. But I know they will never feel the way I felt when listening to Les speak about the game.
It was like your favourite uncle dropping by your house to share a coffee and talk about the weekend. But it was also something more. I have Dutch background, and even though I adore my country, I felt that I needed to maintain a deep link with my heritage. Les gave me that window. Yes, Les was from Hungary, but he was also a living, breathing example of the European culture. And back in the 1980's, prior to the experience of multiculturalism, it was a touchstone for me to embrace and value these European roots.
Seeing Les Murray on television in the 80's and 90's was an important part of my development. Besides the fact that he looked like my Dutch grandfather, he showed me that, regardless of where we come from, we can all have an identity, and more importantly, a passion for something. A passion that got you out of bed in the morning. A passion for a game that has been passed on to my daughters, as they lace up their boots each Saturday.
The media world desperately needed Les Murray. His passion, his integrity, and his commitment to a cause was a shining light in a world of media pretenders and false contenders. Mr Murray, football dialogue will be the poorer for your passing but richer for your contribution.
Farewell to a media doyen, and as Craig Foster called him, "A Galactico of Australian Life".