Read, Watch, Listen!

Photo courtesy of AFL

The point of my blog is not to heap accolades or criticism on specific players or the coach. As stated before, there are plenty of voices who do just that. The point of my blog is to look at the game from a different angle and perspective, which is why this one is called Read, Watch & Listen.

While I could go on about some in the team, who stepped up over that line between losing and giving up, persistence and winning, again, that is not the point of this article. The point of this piece is that over the weekend, I read, watched and listened, and all of those things have solidified and clarified my view.

Last week I wrote about the benefits and results of what a difference a mindset can achieve. I gave an example of that win from Ash Barty, who has a mindfulness coach who has helped her achieve a lifelong dream. I was told that the article was crap, that I have no idea what I am talking about and that I’m delusional. Then I read an interview with Jack Riewoldt, who has achieved a milestone in his career. Whether you like him or not, he has been a part of a very successful club and a team that has achieved three Premierships in four years.

In the article, he said that one of his teammates was going through a difficult time, and he told them to speak to the club’s mindfulness coach. That’s right, the very same type of person is part of the culture of the Richmond FC. Irrespective of what is happening now, they have seen the immense benefits of a person who takes the players on a journey that enables them to achieve their goals by utilizing mindfulness. Her name is Emma Murray, and it makes no difference of whether you think this is “crap” or not, the fact is that it works, and it is not just footy players that utilize this, but international sportspeople, including Ash Barty.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, the USA Women’s Soccer team are just but a few. Lindsay Shaffer, Head of Sports and Fitness for Headspace in the USA, has stated that ‘it’s time to change the mindset about sports training. We need to start at the head, where all of the decisions we make on the court on the field begin.’ BOOM! A successful, a very successful sportsperson is not just one aspect, being skills, but also having a mindset of success. For some players, that just doesn’t happen.

A prime example is Tom Boyd, a very talented player who left the game for mental health issues. We cannot and should not underestimate the enormous benefits of mindfulness and what it can achieve. For those who rubbish it, step aside and look at the facts and how it is a massive component in the success of not just a person, but a club and a team and how this can and will benefit the Carlton FC. Their mindset after halftime was not to give in or give up, and this showed when we came from a 24-point deficit to a 29-point win.

This mindset spurred on the performance and determination from one player who had just experienced an emotional and heartbreaking life event. The death of a great player and person, Sergio Silvagni, affected every person involved in the Carlton FC family. From supporters, players, coaches and administrators. On a personal note, I had the privilege of speaking with Serge and his wife a few years ago while outside the MCG, waiting for the gates to open. I was so glad that I got to the ground early because it was an experience that I have never forgotten.

We talked, laughed, joked and connected in a way that I still today cannot get over. When the gates opened, we did not even know this as we continued to chat. I don’t think he knew how much this meant to me, but it did. Which is why on Sunday, when Jack Silvagni took that mark near the goal square and kicked that goal, I cried. His grandfather, who was so damn proud of him, would have been jumping around in sheer pride and joy.

The way the team got around him, was inspirational and you could see that he tried to keep his emotions in check. But he did not stop there. Watch the game again, and you could see him re-focus on the game. Directing others where to be and putting all of his efforts into the centre when taking the role of backup ruckman. Then the mark, that mark he took that resulted in a goal from Harry McKay, was one that was reminiscent not only of his grandfather but his father as well.

At the end of the game, the raw emotion that Jack Silvagni showed still makes me tear up. The way that Liam Stocker had his arm around him. The way that Eddie Betts gave him that heartfelt hug. Zac Fisher who delved deep into his chest to hug him. The players who understood what this win meant for Jack and his whole family and how he honored the memory of a great Carlton man – Serge. The photo of David Teague leaning in and speaking to Jack after the game and the look of joy and respect that Jack gives to his coach leads me to the ‘listen’ part.

Jacob Weitering took over the Captaincy as both our co-Captains were out injured. Interviewed after the game with the Peter MacCallum Cup in his hand, he said that the team, Teague and the other coaches, do not pay attention to what is being said outside of the club. They have great respect for each other, Teague and the other coaches, and know the journey they are taking together. He also said that the players themselves take the blame for the performance against Geelong. Those on social media who posted during the game that David Teague needs to be sacked, that we are a rabble of a club and that we will be getting Alistair Clarkson or Ross Lyon simply have no idea.

The players believe and support David Teague. They understand what it is going to take to make the club successful again. They do not want to continue the path of knee-jerk reactions perpetrated from outside the club who insist that David Teague is not the coach to make the club successful. Let’s be clear here. Alistair Clarkson will not be coaching another club when he leaves Hawthorn. He has stated this for years. I have heard him say this at private functions. He is a man who is proud of his words and stands by them. He clarified this at the press conference when the club announced the succession plans. He said that he owes it to his wife and family to step down. Do you really think that means he will coach another club? He has been at Hawthorn for eighteen years! He will not coach another club.

On another note, after two years at Hawthorn as coach, there were calls for him to be sacked as they had not performed the way the club hoped. Did they sack him? No! The players believed in him and what he could achieve, and he did just that. We have to do the same because I believe in David Teague and what he can achieve. As for Ross Lyon…no!

Going back to read, unfortunately, I went on social media at halftime and read what some posted. I understand their frustration, but what I don’t get is their knee-jerk reactions to a game that had not yet finished. They blasted players, the coach and called for the immediate sacking of Teague. Then when the game did, they did a 360 and glorified and praised the players and the coach!

Most supporters have stood by the club through its darkest days and knee-jerk reactions irrespective of where the club was positioned. They have not burned their memberships. They have not called for another sacking. They are tired of this lack of continuity in the club; it does not breed consistency, nor does it bring success. The game on Sunday was one filled with raw emotion and clarity. Stop with the nonsense of getting rid of a coach who has been here for over one-and-a-half years and has the backing and support of the players and the other coaches, who must have our support.

After reading, watching and listening, I support the Carlton FC. I support David Teague. I support the players. I always have and always will.


Image courtesy of Carlton FC via Instagram