Dear younger me,
You’re nine and you’ve decided you want to be a footballer one day. And nothing is going to stand in the way of that. Some dream, kid.
Mate, I’ve got great news. At 17 you’ll be drafted to Melbourne — for the next 17 years of your life you’ll live out your childhood dream.
Yes, that’s right. You’re moving away from your family and all of your closest mates. Embrace your environment, you are going to make some life-long friends along the journey.
You’re going to play with and against guys you idolised as a kid. It will be awesome. You’ll be playing in the same team as Shane Woewodin — he’s just won the Brownlow Medal.
It’s not going to be easy. Yes, it’ll be exciting, but It’ll also be challenging and daunting.
You think you’ve trained hard already… The hard work is just about to begin.
There will be injuries early on — you will come out better for it. Remain true to yourself and be clear with the good habits and standards you’ve already established. You will train and play through pain. You will become resilient.
Don’t ever get ahead of yourself — you kick a footy around an oval. Stay grounded and level-headed and remember the people who helped you get to where you are. Your family and friends will be beside you every step of the way.
There are going to be off-field challenges that test you and you’ll play a bad game every now and then.
Don’t tear yourself up over it. Don’t be so hard on yourself. When things get tough stay clear with your focus — the minor hiccups along the way will make you stronger. One other thing mate, and this one’s going to hurt, you are going to play in three losing prelims. There will be huge amounts of disappointment. But life goes on.
Make sure you enjoy everything that comes along with the journey.
The most enjoyable time in your career will be when your team is going well and you’re playing your part. There will be games where you’ll walk off and you will think ‘I dominated today’. They are the highs — when you know you belong there.
And the best part of all — you’ll have two beautiful children who you’ll get to share this journey with.
Have fun. Work hard and enjoy every moment because it’s not going to last forever.
Well done, mate.
P.s What were you thinking with the blonde tips? Nah just kidding, they were on point.