Covered in mud, brow creased against the falling rain, I looked back at the ground as I made my way through the gate for my last ever footy half time. I took a moment to capture the miserable image in my inner camera’s memory drive and, like the playing surface with water, I was flooded with emotion. I was half way through my last game of footy, a grand final no less, and was approaching a life playing no competitive sport.
I’ve always loved playing sport. It was two sports for me, footy and cricket. I was always better at cricket, and played a lot of games from age nine to about 33, but family and work made it obvious that I had to give it up. That was ok, at least I still had footy.
I was never all that much good at it, which was part of the joy. I had absolutely no expectations of myself and could revel in turning up with no pressure and have a red hot crack at it. Scrapping and competing, fighting to make position, or out muscle an opponent, and then coming out with the ball and getting it out to the advantage of one of my more talented team mates was, for me, a joy.