Players like Jack Darling are hard to come by.
Athletic and agile key position forwards are rare but the West Coast big man has also shown a personal quality the majority of the footy world wouldn’t be aware of.
Darling’s a Ronald McDonald House ambassador, which isn’t new information, but what’s come to light is his passion for helping out those in need.
“I’d like to think I’d still be doing something like this even if I wasn’t a footballer,” Darling told Aflplayers.com.au.
“During school, I liked doing these things and I was looking for something not long after I started football.
“We do a lot of work for various charities as footballers and as a footy club, but I think it’s good to have a personal charity you can really focus on and make a small difference in the lives of others.”
Darling recently took a group of young Eagles to the Ronald McDonald House in Perth to take part in cooking a meal for struggling children and their families.
The Eagles playing group also donated $5,000 of their 2017 AFL Players’ Care fund to the cause, which Darling said will go a long way in helping the charity continue their services for families in country areas.
The 24-year-old also believes there’s a sense of pleasure and perspective in being a volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House.
“Going there and seeing the kids smile and their families, and sometimes the dads are more excited than the kids, but if we can take their minds off what they’re going through for 15 minutes to an hour it’s well worth doing it.
“It gives you great perspective because the kids are so happy, they may not know as much about what’s going on but they’re so positive.
“For me, if I hurt my ankle in footy and I’m feeling pretty down about missing a couple of weeks and you go an visit a four-year-old who has cancer or something similar which definitely makes you question why you’re feeling so down and brings that perspective.”
Being a passionate ambassador shows a side of Darling that previously may not have been as evident.
But Darling, who has been to around a dozen Ronald McDonald House events and brought numerous West Coast players along for visits at the Perth house, said he’s always been a selfless individual, even during his younger days.
“Perception is exactly that — perception. If you meet me and know who I am, I’ve always been this person.
“I’ve always had this in me and during school I enjoyed helping people in need, so it’s been the same thing for me.”