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The lessons of life … from Round One

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Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? The grass is always greener on the other side. Patience is a virtue.

Three sayings which are all true but all need context to fully understand.

Football clubs used to follow the first two sayings religiously. Clubs would pick their best 22 for round one and live with the consequences later.

You’d constantly hear coaches saying “he’ll be right for round one.” But why is round one more important than round 18? Games are still worth four points. Lose a player with an injury in round one and you’ll regret having him sidelined in round four.

So, yes, Collingwood would love to have had Dale Thomas on the field for round one. He’s clearly better than their 22nd ranked player and would have had some sort of impact. But he wasn’t fit, so he didn’t play.

AFL vs soccer

Neither did Clinton Young, or Andrew Krakouer or Luke Ball.

And Collingwood isn’t the only club holding players back.

Simon Black, Luke Hodge and Steve Johnson are all Norm Smith medallists. But they weren’t ready to play, so they’re sitting out the opening game of the year.

It’s a valuable lesson in life.

Nope, not jealous at all...

Nope, not jealous at all…

To the beach!

Last week I spent five days on the Gold Coast for a holiday before the madness of the footy season began.

One night, we were talking to a lady from Darwin. She asked whether we’d swum with the dolphins or seals at SeaWorld. No, we hadn’t.

Had we been to the horse show at the local restaurant? No we hadn’t.

Had we done all of the other outrageously expensive things available on the Gold Coast? No, we hadn’t.

What had we done? Well, we’d been to the theme parks, enjoyed the beach, pool and other local attractions. Basically, we’d lived within our means.

“I’m not worrying about that,” she replied.



“I’ll regret it when the credit card bill arrives. But right now, I’m just enjoying myself. Now I’m getting another cocktail. They’re $14 each but they’re nice.”

Take your time

The football season is a marathon, not a sprint. My club, Essendon, discovered that last year when we dominated the first half of the season but failed to make the finals.

Being the best now doesn’t mean you’ll be the best when it matters. Being the smartest in primary school doesn’t mean you’ll get a great job. Burn out happens all the time.

A friend of mine loves the phrase “success is a journey, it’s not a destination.”


We are all on a journey that hopefully leads to happiness and success. But unless we all follow the path of simplicity and make rational decisions about our life, we’ll spend more time at the same destination – disaster.

Footy has a way of teaching life lessons. From racism and sexism to cheating and scandal, clubs mirror life. If we follow the lessons from off the field, we should also consider what we’re looking at on the field.

Seeing stars sitting in the grandstand is a reminder that some things can wait until tomorrow, the grass isn’t necessarily greener but patience is still very much a virtue.

(Blogger’s note – a special thanks to Craig O’Donoghue for writing this piece…)


We haven’t won a game in two years!

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An all-too familiar post-game scene…

Two years in the abyss – an insight into the foibles of ‘hope’

I am worried for my son.

You see, I’ve worked around kids for well over a decade. They are funny, cheeky and loyal … to a point.

They like to get their own way, they like to have fun … and they like to win.

Barracking for the Bombers at the moment does not equate with winning. In fact, while my little boy has only been around for 90 days, it was 485 days ago that I last saw my Bombers win a game. 485!

That was the first of May, 2011, when the boys in red and black almost scored 100 points in the first quarter against Gold Coast, who apparently now go ok against the Navy Blues.

Last year, I expected the dropoff; Essendon weren’t expected to go that far. Having said that, we were 3rd on the ladder after the Gold Coast win. Two weeks later, the bottom fell out; it’s not exactly an encouraging sign when your team can’t win a game in winter … in a winter sport!

And what I thought I’d be seeing…

‘That was last year’

But this year was different, or so I was told. We weren’t just high on the ladder, winning a tonne of games and sitting comfortably in the top 4, we were a legitimate threat come September. (Finals time in Aus…)

‘Hold on, Bombers!’ I exclaimed. I had a May 24 return date from my year without sport and I didn’t want them overheating the engine before then. Not to worry, I was told. There are many teams that should be concerned right now; you’re not one of them… So, even as a conservative sporting follower, I had to admit that I was drinking the Essendon Coolade.

How our skies have looked pretty much every day over the last 3 months…

So when the return came, even though winter’s depths loomed, (and let’s face it, what a rub-bish Melbourne winter it has been!), I returned an expectant supporter.

And then everything turned to pot. Read the rest of this entry