Jimmy Bartel is one of seven nominees for the AFL Players’ Association Madden Medal, an award that recognises more than on-field performances, with off-field achievements, personal development and community spirit also taken into account.
AFL careers don’t get much greater than Jimmy Bartel’s.
A Brownlow Medal, a Norm Smith Medal and three premierships — Bartel has also been equally impressive off the field throughout his 15 years in the AFL system.
Study and business ventures sit alongside the 33-year-old’s on-field achievements during his 305-game career, which he invested in from the moment he walked through the door at Kardinia Park.
“Study isn’t for everyone but it’s easy to ask a lot of questions,” Bartel told Aflplayers.com.au.
“The fact you’re a footballer, people will openly have conversations with you and want to help, so it’s as simple as meeting someone for a coffee or sitting down with an older player or staff member and ask as many questions as possible and meet as many people as you can because that will help you in the long run.
“I was very inquisitive to start with. It also helped that I enjoyed studying, engaging with the community and love being around people.”
Continuing his education during his playing days was a priority for Bartel and a value he received from his schoolteacher mother, which was reinforced from the moment he was drafted to the Cats.
Education and work experience served as Bartel’s back-up option and ensured there were avenues available when his AFL career came to a close.
But there’s another element to keeping busy as a footballer and it’s a theory Bartel subscribes to.
“In one way, it takes your mind of the stresses and the all-consuming nature that football can become. When you’re also getting a bit bored while burying yourself into a textbook or things like that, you realise how good footy is which helps you make the most of every hour you have at the footy club.
“In hindsight, having a balanced lifestyle probably helped with my career in the long run. I’m a person who likes to fill their day up and trying to get the most out of each day was how I approached it.
“It helped with the mental side so I wasn’t getting burnt out or completely consumed with footy because while it’s an amazing industry to be a part of, it never switches off.”
Bartel was always wary of the impact of his off-field endeavours was having on his football.
When September was around the corner, which was more often than not, the Geelong fan favourite dialled back his non-football commitments.
But it was impossible to keep his work as an ambassador for ‘Face Up to DV’ out of the footy arena and nor did he want it to be, with his beard acting as a symbol for domestic violence awareness and his incredible story accompanying it.
Investing in the community has been a big part of Bartel’s life and he believes it’s something all people should be doing regardless of your status among it.
“We’re fortunate as footballers to have pretty good avenues and platforms to do that from. I think everyone should make the most of it.
“Whatever you give back to your community, the payback is tenfold in terms of the satisfaction you get.
“Whether you’re a footballer or not, everyone should invest in their own community and help out with whatever they’re passionate about.”
Jimmy Bartel’s achievements on and off the field:
On Field Achievements
- 305 AFL Games
- Brownlow Medal 2007
- All-Australian 2007, 2008
- Norm Smith Medal 2011
- Geelong Premiership Player 2007, 2009, 2011
- 2 X 2nd Best and Fairest
- 3 X 3rd Best and Fairest
- AFL Rising Star Nominee 2002
- Pre-Season Premiership Player 2006, 2009
Off FIELD ACHIEVEMENTS
- Certificate 3 & 4 in Sport and Recreation
- Advanced Diploma Business Management
- Diploma Financial Services
- Studying a Bachelor of Business & Management
- Work Placement – Touchstone Consulting
- AFLPA Board Member
- Face Up to DV – Ambassador
- Cottage by the Sea – Ambassador
- Challenge-Kids with Cancer – Ambassador
- Red Dust – Role Model
- Founded Jimmy Bartel Acadamy
- Geelong FC Life Member
- Geelong FC Best Clubman
- Vice-Captain Geelong FC
- AFL 300 Club