Letter to my younger self is back this year, as we honour the 2018 draft class. Former Blue and Tiger Shaun Hampson shares some words of wisdom to his younger self about what it means to be resilient and what to value from his career.
These next 12 years will completely shape your life and the person you will become.
It’s going to challenge you in more ways than you could imagine. You’ve got so much to learn about yourself.
When you start, you will think you know what it means to be resilient, to challenge yourself and to be grateful but trust me, you don’t. You’ll learn what all these things truly mean along the way but unfortunately, much of your early career will be hampered by a lack of being able to properly comprehend these things.
You’ll whinge when you lose games, you’ll get carried away when you win them. You’ll get caught up on the small stuff and won’t look towards the big picture.
You’ll think, “poor me” when you get injured (which will happen a fair bit) and overdo it when you’re not.
You’ll have coaches that like you, ones that don’t and some that just couldn’t care less.
You’ll think you’re a failure when you’re playing VFL instead of AFL and won’t enjoy it for what it is. At times you won’t be grateful to be doing what you’re doing.
Fortunately though, you do get your act together and you’ll also realise the greatest thing about being a footballer… The relationships.
With a lot of help from some key people you will learn to worry about only what you can control. Through trying times, hard work and an improved perspective you will obtain a better understanding of what it means to be resilient.
You’ll learn to be grateful for being able to play football at all, regardless of the level and enjoy every game and every minute you spend with your mates.
You won’t play 100 games, you won’t win a premiership, a best and fairest or a Brownlow but it’s OK because when you do leave the game, they’re not the things you’ll think about or miss.
It’s the deep and unique relationships that football allows you to create that you’ll miss. The camaraderie, care and the pointless locker room chat.
Relish it, enjoy it and don’t get so caught up in all the other shit.