Ahead of Friday night’s Grand Final replay between Geelong and Richmond, champion Cat Harry Taylor looks back on his career and pens a letter to his younger self detailing the lessons he learned throughout his football career.
By Harry Taylor
Hey there fella,
Gee you look skinny.
Grab a pen, because I am going to tell you a few things that might help you in your AFL career.
You are never too old to learn something new.
Remember to use all of your senses to learn. If you want to improve at something, then be willing to work hard at it. Things take time to perfect. Improvement isn’t sudden. Set goals and have dreams, but focus on the process that will make those dreams come true.
Be strong and vigilant with this process, even if the sky gets grey or your opponent kicks a goal on you in the first 10 seconds of the game. Believe in yourself and trust that the work you have done will carry you to where you need to go. Train your instincts then let them shine in the battle.
Remember that game day is a sacred time when everything else that is happening in the world can be forgotten and you get to challenge yourself with your mates against a tough and willing enemy.
You are always closer to the end than you think so embrace each and every battle like it’s your last. Never fear the battle. Rather, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“Things move fast in the AFL world and it would be a shame not to be able to share all of those great experiences with your grandkids.”
There is no other feeling like winning and playing your role. Relationships are the most important conduit of any culture.
Spend time developing relationships. Share your thoughts and feelings, experience things together and always be there for your mates. Mateship is the best by-product of playing team sport.
Remember to smile and keep perspective. The ups and downs are all part of the journey. It’s OK to embrace the emotion of the journey.
Using social media to judge your actions is not going to help, rather buy a mirror and look yourself in the eye when making assessments on your output.
There is nothing worse than lying to yourself.
Whilst you are at the shop, also buy a few notepads to write down things that you have learnt and stories you have lived. Things move fast in the AFL world and it would be a shame not to be able to share all of those great experiences with your grandkids.
Finally, remember that you don’t have to try to define everything.
It’s OK if things remain unanswered. Not everything will fit into a box, not everything is black or white.
You never know, but sometimes with a bit of luck, hard work and self-belief you could last 4723 days in this game, get to play on the biggest stage of all a few times, on the best players in the land and fall in love with every single bit of the journey.