Sydney Swans star Josh Kennedy opens up about his wedding overseas, the birth of his first child and his career-best season, in an exclusive piece for aflplayers.com.au, brought to you by Timberland.
What a year 2015 turned out to be.
Although the Swans were bundled out in straight-sets during September, from a personal perspective, my year was mostly filled with positives.
I welcomed the birth of my first child, Emilio, and played some career-best footy before getting married overseas.
In the second half of the year, I felt I probably played some of the best footy I’ve ever played.
Although the first half of the year was a little bit inconsistent, and I played some good games but also some average ones, I’m happy with the way I was able to turn it around from the split round on.
While my body was good and I was able to train, play and recover quickly from games, my initial inconsistency could have been due to other reasons. Obviously we brought Emilio into this world in Round 4, which took a while to adjust to.
Both Ana and I didn’t sleep much and, even though Ana’s mum was here, we didn’t have a huge support network.
I’m certainly not blaming the birth of Emilio for how I played my footy, but adjusting to that huge life change might have been a factor in my form in the earlier parts of the year.
For me, building back to the top of my game was simply about knuckling down and working hard. Focusing on what makes me a good player was a priority. While it’s not rocket science, making sure that’s all at the forefront of my mind going into games was important in getting my form up to scratch.
Obviously the season ended on a sour note after we lost two finals in a row at the pointy end, and there is plenty to work on before 2016 gets under way.
Away from the field, the off-season started brilliantly, with Ana and I tying the knot.
Seeing that Colombia is a three-flight trip, we had an engagement party in Australia – effectively a wedding without a wedding – to accommodate my extended family and grandparents who wouldn’t have been able to make the journey for our actual wedding.
Ana, Emilio and I then traveled to her native country in mid-October to see her family in Medellin – the nation’s second-largest city – and officially get married.
On the way over, I met a few friends and family in Cartagena, which is a coastal city, to celebrate the wedding. We stayed in what’s called The Old City – a place that endured a war many years ago. It’s a very beautiful, old city with great colourful buildings, but it has a different feeling – it’s just a completely different world and was one of the highlights of the adventure.
Apart from the wedding, we basically spent the entire break hanging out with Ana’s family and friends.
I had met some of her family before – I went over there for a couple of weeks in 2012 – but it was the first time they had met Emilio, so he was certainly the centre of attention the whole time I was over there.
He seems pretty comfortable having a few people around him.
The first few weeks were pretty busy introducing Emilio to his relatives and I was eager to relax a bit more and feel comfortable within the city.
During my visit in 2012, I was able to do some sight-seeing, but this trip was about knowing the local places to get a coffee or some lunch without feeling like a complete tourist – despite the obvious language barrier, which I’m still working on.
At the moment, Ana and Emilio are still in Medellin and I’m due back there for Christmas and New Year’s.
Then we will all return to Australia in early January, and I’ll be getting back to business in a bid to carry my 2015 form into the next campaign with the Swans.