It seemed strange sitting on the dais talking to the parents of the 17 and 18 year old football players at the Dandenong Stingrays Football Club. It brought back memories of our recent experiences there as parents of our son who played with them. He captained the Stingrays to a Grand Final in 2005 playing at the MCG on AFL Grand Final Day. To many of these people we would appear to be the success story they are hoping their sons will follow, and yet it has never felt like that to us. It has always been a roller-coaster teetering between success and failure. Our son’s football career still hangs in the balance.
The purpose of the session was to provide information to the parents as AFL Draft Day approaches. We are the parents of a son who is now a current AFL player for Port Adelaide Football Club. There were two AFL player managers, and an AFL recruiter also sitting as part of the panel. Darren posed questions and we answered for an attentive audience of parents from two of the TAC Cup clubs.
We did not have to try to be positive because it really is a fantastic privilege to be involved at this level of football. Whatever has happened for our son has been a real bonus and offered life-enriching experiences. It’s been a great ride so far and we have met some wonderful people and done some great things: not least of all is watch some great football.
This session was unplugged! No videos, no PowerPoint presentations, no ustreaming to the WWW. And it wasn’t that these people don’t use these tools. This is AFL football! Everything gets recorded, edited, replayed, seen everywhere. Everyone’s comments are analysed and rehashed over and over. The relevance to other people outside of this group is also something that would rate highly. But it was really nice to not have these distractions. It was a conversation between people in real time and real space. It was a delight.