Letter to my younger self is back this year, as we honour the 2018 draft class. First up, it’s Cameron Pedersen, who represented North Melbourne and Melbourne across eight seasons, having toiled away in the VFL with the Box Hill Hawks. The 31-year-old looks back at his career, exclusively to AFLPlayers.com.au.
Your career will be the definition of a roller-coaster ride. Learn to not be so hard on yourself while playing VFL. It will open your eyes to the opportunities ahead.
Always give to others and always make time for people. Show a genuine care and have a positive influence on those around you.
Eight years and 80 games, be proud of what you have achieved and never lose sight that it is a game, and the reason you started, was the love for the game.
Wake up every day feeling blessed that you have an amazing job. It will be demanding on your family, so remember they are on the ride with you. They feel your loss, pain, injuries, but moreover your joy, success and achievements.
Your coaches will ride you hard and sometimes you will feel you’re being treated unfairly. But remember, they want to get the best out of you and they care for you as a person, not just a player.
Coming through the long way round — five great years at the Box Hill Hawks and to then being rookie listed at North Melbourne — will provide you with an unwavering determination to succeed.
In your first year playing at AFL, you will introduce your first born prematurely. Driving to and from hospitals and training for over a month, until you can take her home to the ‘granny flat’ of your in-laws house, will be exhausting.
Over the years, success begins to rise, and the move to Melbourne Football Club helps bring a new home to your wife, and Charlee (first born), and soon after two more beautiful girls Ruby and Lucy.
They will provide you a challenge, but also keep you busy outside of football, which is key to on-field achievement.
Balancing the demands of AFL, you will also study a Masters of Education in Teaching. This will be challenging at times, with children and wife being sick, missing first days of school and other school events, weddings, family events and kids parties.
Now, it’s time to move onto the next phase of your life with a Masters of Education. This year, you will teach the future. You will guide them on their journey of life through education that has provided a great path moving forward.
Your knowledge of coping with change, loss, success and failure will only guide your students in their journey in developing their resilience which is imperative in their daily life.
In eight years of AFL footy, in three words, it would be described as: mate ship, resilience and opportunity. Remember this, as a reflection on your life so far, and take this into the next chapter of your life as an educator.