Max Bailey has never been afraid of a challenge.
A positive attitude saw him work his way through three knee reconstructions during his time as a Hawk, with his AFL career culminating in a Grand Final win in his final AFL game in 2013.
“While it wasn’t ideal to go through [those injuries], it’s held me in good stead at the other end of it,” Bailey told aflplayers.com.au recently.
“I still ended up playing 40-odd games and finishing up with a premiership.
“If you’d told me, ‘you have to go through that [the injuries] to get that [premiership], I’d have probably said, ‘yeah, no worries.’”
Bailey has carried that positive approach into his post-footy life.
“I finished up at 27, just due to the fact that I couldn’t keep going and keep doing what you need to do as an AFL footballer.
“I was asking all these questions and then thought, stuff it, I’m just going to jump in. a bit of attraction to it was the unknown.” – Max Bailey
“It was hard at the time, but now it’s allowed me to do some other things at the end of my career, which – had I finished my career four or five years later – I wouldn’t have been able to do.”
Stepping away from a coaching career – Bailey took on a role as a development coach at Richmond at the end of 2013, a position he held for two years – the 29-year-old is preparing to spend six months in Tanzania, working with the Future Warriors Project to assist Maasai communities in need of support.
“The point of the Future Warriors Project is to give them a chance to get educated – give them a chance to do more than just farming.
“I got onto them through a friend and I just said, I want to help out how I can.”
Bailey will draw on his experiences in the AFL system to teach sport in Maasai communities.
He’s not sure how it’s all going to work, but that’s half the fun.
“I’m generally a pretty considered person before I go into something. I was asking all these questions and then thought, stuff it, I’m just going to jump in.
“A bit of the attraction to it was the unknown. I know it’s relatively safe and that was the main thing. And I know that there’s a good opportunity to make a bit of a difference there.
“My interest is to be in a different environment to get a different experience. As much as I’m going over there to help out where I can, I’m going to get a fair bit coming back the other way.”
how you can support Max in Tanzania
Max is holding a fundraising night featuring a panel including Sam Mitchell and Alastair Clarkson on Thursday, January 21 at the Flying Duck Hotel in Prahran, starting at 6:30pm.
Tickets are 20 dollars – email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Find out more about the Future Warriors Project at futurewarriorsproject.org