The start of any new year is filled with hopes and dreams.
Langston Hughes in his poem wrote, "Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly."
Desmond Tutu in trying to define hope said "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness".
It whispers, you'll overcome this hardship.
It reassures us, soothes our minds by reminding us that life will improve.
According to psychologist Charles Snyder hope includes three elements: a belief, a goal, and a path.
The person who is hopeful believes they will succeed. Secondly, the person has a specified goal, direction or destination. Thirdly, the person knows the route or path they will take to achieve the desired outcome.
And so, hope is a mindset, the will and determination to believe that you'll overcome.
As a Carlton supporter a great example of hope was the 1970 AFL grand final.
Carlton was playing Collingwood and was rank underdog as Collingwood had already beaten them on three occasions that year.
A record crowd of 121,696 witnessed one of the most historically significant games in AFL history.
As the half-time siren sounded Carlton was 44 points down and facing an ignominious defeat.
Many of the Carlton supporters raised the white flag and left the ground convinced that their team was doomed.
They had given up hope! But they had not reckoned on the players themselves, who at no time accepted that they were doomed.
Their state of mind was a belief they could turn this disaster around.
This optimism, or this sense that one ought not give in to adversity had been drilled into them in for years, it was taught to players at that level so their hope would never be diminished.
Two things happened after the Carlton players walked despondently into the rooms at half-time.
Collingwood appeared to lose concentration maybe because they thought their lead was unassailable.
More importantly Carlton coach Ron Barassi, a man who often terrorised his players with brutal criticism, was oddly calm and positive.
In an era when you only handballed when you were in trouble Barassi instructed his players to handball at all costs.
This radical suggestion changed not just this game, but football forever.
By refusing to lose heart, maintaining hope, and showing a willingness to try something new, Barassi helped his team turn the game around.
For readers who are not familiar with this significant event in football history, the Carlton football team was able to slowly but surely chip away at the Magpies' lead until finally they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, winning by 10 points.
Those supporters who surrendered and left the ground at half-time filled with pessimism and a lack of hope lost the joy of witnessing a great Carlton triumph.
So, what has this game got to do with Tasmania in 2021?
There is no dispute that when COVID reared its ugly head early last year the threat of contracting the virus and the threat of economic destruction were at the forefront of people's minds.
Many of us were pessimistic about the future and most news commentators were understandably predicting hard times ahead, and for the first month or two things were difficult.
The Government made some radical changes in an effort to first defeat the virus and then deal with the resultant economic pain.
Tasmanians accepted these radical changes were needed but many questioned whether businesses could cope, especially those which relied on tourists.
Sadly a few of our businesses were unable to continue through no fault of their own, as overseas and interstate tourism dried up.
But just like the Carlton of 1970, the majority of businesses didn't lose hope - they accepted that hope often starts in darkness; they had a stubborn hope that if you turned up and tried to do the right thing the dawn of a new day will eventually arrive.
Our state government can be applauded for offering incentives for people to 'holiday at home', and that's what many Tasmanians have done and are still doing.
Interstate visitors are travelling to the safety of Tasmania to enjoy a well-earned break.
What's more is they have money in their pockets, and are anxious to spend it.
I have spoken to many businesses over the summer season and have been heartened with the news for many they have enjoyed a record year despite COVID.
One bike shop had orders for over 900 bikes for Christmas, caravans have sold out and there's a significant waiting period, second-hand car yards are running out of stock, some supermarkets have enjoyed record years, so too pharmacies.
With hard work and innovative changes Tasmania is doing okay.
The start of 2021 sees Tasmania in a good place, it fills us with hope.
Here's hoping you all have a happy and healthy new year.
- Tania Rattray, independent McIntyre MLC