In the lead up to the Madden Medal presentation next Thursday, the retiring class of 2019 have put together a letter to their younger selves detailing the lessons they learned during their careers. Over the next week, aflplayers.com.au will publish the letters of these players to help celebrate their achievements. Here is Sydney Swans champion Nick Smith’s letter to his 18-year-old self.
I know you’re disappointed about going to Sydney, leaving your friends and family, but it is the best thing that could ever happen to you.
Despite being upset now, in a few days’ time you will walk into the Sydney Swans Football Club where you will meet Adam Goodes, Brett Kirk, Mick O’Loughlin, Craig Bolton, Leo Barry, Tadgh Kennelly, Barry Hall and many more. You think these guys will teach you about football and they will.
What you don’t realise is how much these guys will teach you about life.
Immersing yourself into the club and having these guys as role models will teach you about hard work, respect, resilience, discipline, honesty and care.
If fun is what you’re looking for, you should quit now.
Playing AFL at the highest level requires absolute dedication.
You will miss your mates’ 21st birthdays, bucks’ parties and weddings.
But the sacrifice makes the success all the better.
Nick, you will have a tendency to let the result of a football game dictate your life.
When your parents come to the SCG and your team lose, talk to them after the game (you idiot).
Yes, it’s important to analyse and move forward, but take the time to enjoy the ‘little wins’.
Putting everything into a game and walking off with your team mates after a win is something that will not be replicated in later life.
While not always enjoyable, you are about to embark on one of the most fulfilling journeys of your life.