Mo Better


Growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, my favourite cricketer was Merv Hughes. I was a bit young to fully grasp the intricacies of the wonderful game of cricket, but I was attracted to it by his moustache.

It was a moustache to be feared.

It was a moustache that could have shaded the drinks cart.

It was also a moustache of which a walrus would be envious.

And it seemed to bristle when he was charging in to deliver a ball aimed at knocking the competition’s block off.

Hughes wasn’t the only moustachioed man in the Australian team or, in fact, any of the teams playing Test cricket at that time. The 1980s was an era when men weren’t afraid to be hairy while representing the nation in a sporting arena.

As we moved into the ’90s, the vigorous moustaches and sideburns disappeared, and have remained sadly lacking ever since. Apart from not being fashionable, I suppose they weren’t as aerodynamic—running in to bowl at the WACA with the Fremantle Doctor (Perth’s afternoon breeze) ruffling an impressive Ned Kelly-esque beard would probably result in a significant amount of wind drag.

Outside of sports, you do see fewer men sporting facial hair than 20 years ago. But every November, the opportunity arises for men to harken back to hirsuteness and join the moustachioed masses who take part in Movember.

Movember may not be a good month for those with pogonophobia (beard fear), but it is good for raising awareness of men’s health issues, not least because everyone wants to know why so many people (no gender discrimination here!) have seemingly decided to attach a furry caterpillar (or two) to their upper lip.

Of course, there are a multitude of companies, charities and foundations that emphasise the importance of good health, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

These include a lot of religious faiths. The Salvation Army has a history of providing rehabilitation services for substance abuse. Many Indian religious faiths promote vegetarianism. Jewish people follow health laws from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). The Seventh-day Adventist Church has had a history of emphasising healthy living, and were promoting a non-smoking lifestyle long before doctors stopped prescribing cigarettes for patients with asthma.

The Bible actually has a fair amount to say about health of all kinds, including how to provide health education and deal with infectious diseases.

In His time on earth, Jesus invested in the health of those He met—and not just because He probably had a mo, as well as a beard. There are plenty of accounts of His attention and care for those who were unwell, or whose illnesses had caused them to become disenfranchised or disconnected from their communities.

Jesus’ emphasis on health and the welfare of others wasn’t something that He only did at set times each year. In John 10:10, He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

We, too, can help others have a more abundant life wherever and whenever we can.

Whether this involves growing a moustache for charity, or perhaps just donating some money to someone who has done so, we can make the most of our opportunities to make life better for those around us.

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