Letter to my younger self is back this year, as we honour the 2018 draft class. The last edition comes from Jarrad Waite, who pens a heartfelt message about believing in his talent and giving it his absolute all.
Right now you are having the time of your life, surrounded by champions and spending your days with your best mates, playing the game you love. Enjoy every minute! There will be highs and there will be lows, but you have the best job in the world and the one thing that will never waiver is your undeniable love of football.
If I could give you one piece of advice to make your journey easier, it would be to believe in yourself and your ability early in your career. Don’t look to others to build your confidence, it has to start with you. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
There will be critics along the way and times when you feel you are judged harshly. But as a wise coach will one day tell you — it is your exquisite performances and talent that makes people hold you to a higher standard and expect you to do those freakish things all the time.
Try to remember that being held to a high standard is a compliment and prove any doubters wrong when you step out onto that field.
Train hard and play harder. Keep trying to become the absolute best player you can be. Take risks and push yourself… but maybe think twice before giving that little ‘head tap’ to your opponent… You’re an old school footballer, but this isn’t the 70s and you are not your dad.
Learn to keep working on the things you can control and not be affected by those things you can’t. Your body will let you down as you get older, but don’t give up. You are mentally stronger than you know. Keep picking yourself up and putting yourself back out there. You will never regret giving your football career absolutely everything you’ve got.
Always take the high road. There will be people who disappoint you, but there will be more people who encourage and admire you. Who teach you and inspire you. Surround yourself with the best people and they will make you your best self.
Enjoy the ride.
P.S. Even though you’re a 10, maybe think about getting a haircut before team photos!