At the 2017 AFLPA MVP Awards, a host of retiring legends penned a letter to their younger selves. For 12 years, Garrick Ibbotson formed an important part of Fremantle’s defence during the good and not so good times. He reflects on his journey, exclusively to AFLPlayers.com.au.
Not long now and you will be in an AFL list. Being drafted is a big achievement and you should be very proud of your efforts and hard work to get there.
Luckily we were able to stay in Perth and tackle the challenges of AFL life with the support of family and friends (not many people are as fortunate).
Over the course of your career you will experience a roller coaster of emotions that will challenge you as a person and inevitably shape the man that you will become.
The reason for this letter is to let you in on a couple of secrets I have picked up along the way. I know this is hard to get your head around at the moment but we have a whole lot of life to live when the dream of being an AFL footballer is done and dusted, this probably feels like a lifetime away but trust me when i say that life moves fast!
I want you to make the most of what this opportunity has to offer, you will meet some incredible people along the journey, do things you never thought possible and live out your childhood dream (how good!?).
When everything is said and done, you would’ve learnt to make sacrifices and dedicate yourself to being the best you can be. Most importantly, you will need to work hard and be the teammate that you would like others to be for you.
The thrill of running out on the ground with 21 brothers is all ahead of you and it is a special feeling that will never get old. Enjoy the ride and take it all in.
The rest is up to you.
Your older self.