Generally speaking, coaches do not coach because they are completely benevolent souls with nothing else to do with their lives. We coach because we enjoy it. We coach because we believe we have something still to offer. We coach because we believe that we can make a small difference. We also, no matter how much we want to deny it, coach because we still have a vicarious connection to playing the game…and that is not a bad thing. That’s a form of passion.
Those, like me, at junior level, often far from the madding crowds of the AFL big time, do not play for the same stakes as the 18 senior AFL coaches and, probably with few exceptions, are not in the same league as those coaches. Yet most of us look up to those 18 – an 18 which changes year to year, but is still the highest level in the land – and try to emulate them, either consciously or unconsciously.
Geelong's Steven Motlop has been working to bring a group of refugees together as a football team. This fascinating account of his dream was recently aired on Channel 7 news.
The Channel Seven news story looked behind the scenes of the football world where new immigrants and refugees are slowly but surely taking up the game at junior and senior levels, with the assistance of players like Motlop.
As reported by Nick McCallum on the Channel Seven story, the Geelong star has brought his skills along to train a group of refugees, some aboriginal students going to school in Geelong and some helpful locals to develop a team.
Watching Sydney Swans player Mike Pyke being chaired from Metricon Stadium tonight after playing his 100th game against the Gold Coast Suns was quite special. Not so much the fact it was 100 games, but that it was achieved by a player who, by his own admission, would have been content to play just one.
To reach the 100 games mark after switching codes sends strong messages to any other players from overseas. If it isn’t enough to see Pyke’s milestone as proof that it is important to follow your dreams, he has also demonstrated that age, background, tyranny of distance and knowledge of the game are just small impediments on a journey which is dictated more by determination, opportunity, a little luck and most of all belief.
Much has been written about Pyke’s journey previously Pyke reaches the peak of Aussie Rules Football and his story is inspirational, especially when looked at from the point of view of international success for prospective players. But a brief recap certainly provides a remarkable insight into a very talented athlete.
The celebration by Adam Goodes in yesterday’s match between the Sydney Swans and Carlton was theatre on a grand scale which epitomised the pride attached to the AFL Indigenous Round this weekend. In a round designed to recognise and celebrate the riches given to the game of Australian Rules football by indigenous footballers, these acts will be remembered as iconic moments.
The AFL promotes the weekend’s round of football at all levels nationally by stating:
From a deep connection with the land comes a proud history of runners, jumpers, hunters, collectors, dancers, artists and leaders. These skills echo the incredible contribution that Indigenous footballers have made to the game.
The 2015 Toyota AFL Indigenous Round is an opportunity to celebrate the role these athletes have had in shaping Australian Rules football. Not just making the game spectacular, but bringing two cultures together.