Footy And Life

There’s been quite a lot of disappointing news about AFL footballers over the last few weeks, predominantly incidents where players have punched others on the field.

It’s not a good look for the sport, and as a fan it’s pretty frustrating.

But it’s made me think back to a moment that’s stuck with me, a moment where I thought “wow, he gets it” when listening to a footballer speak.

It was 2010, Brownlow Medal night (Australian football’s MVP medal for all those non-Aussies) and the winner was giving his acceptance speech.

It was Chris Judd.

He used the word “real” multiple times. Pointing out that football isn’t the real world. That the heroes of football aren’t the real heroes in life. That they have a place as role models for kids, but they’re not the real role models.

He talked about his motivation for moving back to Melbourne from Perth, changing football clubs, as wanting “a life outside of the footy club”.

This man isn’t perfect, but he understands.

He was awarded the AFL’s highest individual honour, twice. He won a premiership, and as team captain. He was captain of two teams. He played at the highest level, but he still kept in perspective that it is just a game.

At the end of the day, it’s not real; it’s just a game. It’s not the real battle. He loved football, but he knew that there is more to life than football.

And I was so glad that night, listening to him, that his talent in this sport gave him the microphone. That as much as he shied away from being a role model, in that speech he shone through as one.

Love your sport, kids.

Play hard.

Play well.

Don’t give in.

Succeed.

Enjoy it.

But remember that it’s just a game.

Weight for Cash

I was scrolling through some NFL news the other day when something caught my attention. It was an article about Seattle running back Eddie Lacy, and oh has it given me ideas.

Nothing to do with his performance in the off-season. No, no. It was just commenting on Eddie getting paid $55,000 this week for meeting a weight loss goal. $55,000. And another $55,000 next time if he meets his weight requirement again.

That’s right folks. Exchange your weight for cash. 

Of course this excited me. Two birds with one stone! Boost bank account, lose weight. I have finally worked out the secret to weight loss. This is probably what all those Hollywood types tapped into years ago! 

If someone paid me $55,000 I could lose that weight before you could drive through the drive through and order a cheeseburger with fries, chocolate thickshake, and 50 cent cone. (I’m still so mad they’re not 30 cents anymore).

So now I’ve got the plan all sorted out, all I need to do is find someone to pay me to lose weight. 

Until then, public service announcement: Aldi Australia brought back coffee and cream chocolate blocks. I bought three.

Wind and dirt and heart

I’m a bit of a sports lover. Some of my friends hate sports. Playing them, watching them. And I understand where they’re coming from. People have bad experiences playing sport, or with people that play sport.

I think it’s a shame though, because I have always loved sport and what it can mean, all different sports. But always team sports.

There’s just something about it; pushing yourself physically next to others doing the same, for a common goal. Not wanting to let them down, even when you just want to lie down on the ground and never get up. Running that extra few minutes, persevering for just that little bit longer. 

In the game, reading the play, trying to work out what the other team is doing, what their plan is. Working together to thwart it. 

All in real time. Constant movement.

With wind in your hair and mud on your knees and bruises on your ankles.

Celebrating when your teammate kicks the goal or clears the ball or makes the tackle. 

Yelling encouragement when they miss. Picking each other up out of the dirt when we fall.

Standing together in a line with your arms around each other, being a team. Shaking hands with the opposition, in a sign that it’s just a game, we are not enemies. They won, they played better than us.

Eating orange pieces and laughing together over something that happened in the game. 

Sport.

It’s wind and dirt and heart.