Memories are made of this!

I had an idea recently and it was that what I write will now be available to be heard.  I will be recording my writing and all you need to do is click on the link and you will be able to hear my pieces if you don’t want to read them.

On the weekend, I was fortunate enough to travel to Sydney and be a part of the crowd that saw Carlton lead every quarter and win in Sydney under rather blustery conditions.  This was the last interstate game for the year and even though I missed the Fremantle game, I have had the privilege to travel around Australia to watch the team, Win, lose and no draws. I met up with some amazing people from interstate who are just as mad and passionate about the club as I am and have traveled to these games with fellow Cheer Squad members who have become family to me. I have sat through teeming rain, freezing temperatures and lately blusteringly cold winds that ensured that no banners would be going up for that game, and I have loved every minute of it. Through the highs and the lows, the people I have met and made friends with along the way, are etched into my memories of 2019 interstate trips.  However, it is this trip to Sydney that made me realize what has actually been achieved since Bolton was sacked.

I’m not going to go on about how great the game was, and it was because that’s been handled by others. I’m not going to go into detail about the way the players came out and from the very first bounce, were determined, dynamic and played four quarters of the game that saw Sydney trying to play catchup. I’m not going to discuss how when the score was close or when Sydney was in the lead for a short time, that the players did not give up or give in and we won every bloody, damn quarter.

The most significant memory of this game was one that was completely out of my hands because I didn’t orchestrate it, Sydney’s weather did.

My flight was delayed from departing Sydney at 7pm to 8.50pm.  Luckily, I had access to the Virgin Lounge and set up my laptop and proceeded to have something to eat and do some uni work.  The flight that I was on was also the same flight as the team’s, so I was “stuck” in the Lounge with the Carlton crew.

So here I was sitting at a long table, working when I noticed that a few seats down, Liam Jones and Harry McKay were watching Jones’s mobile phone.  Taking a sneak peek, I saw they were watching the Essendon/NM game.  Getting out my iPad, I opened the AFL app and watched it.  David Teague leaned over Jones and McKay commenting about watching a game on an iPhone.  I said that he is quite welcome to watch it with me on the iPad.  He sat down next to me and we were watching the last three minutes together.

Couldn’t help, had to do it, I told him congratulations on the win, it was a great win and just shows what playing four quarters of a game can achieve.  He humbly said, thanks and he agreed. Plugging in his laptop, he was watching a replay of the game and opposite him and I was some of his assistants and stats people. They began chatting about the game, then Teague called Harry over and showed him a mistake he had made during the game.  The way he spoke to the players and others around him, was an eye-opener. He was respectful, down-to-earth and the players showed him that same kind of respect and admiration.

As we boarded the flight finally, I watched as the players and crew made their way to their seats. The camaraderie between players, Teagues and the others was something I hadn’t seen before. It was like being amongst a group of people who had genuine respect, admiration, and care for one another. I know this was because of a win, but it went deeper than that.

The delay of the flight afforded me the chance to see the players and the coaches interact in a way that I had not seen before and the relaxed way they mingled with each other.  Thinking about this and the way the players are playing, I realized that it was the easy-going, calm and respectful way that Teague is as a coach and a person, where the sheer joy of just playing the game, is something he is bringing back to the team.

Ed Levi

You can see it with a player such as Jack Silgavni who I have always believed to be a great player given time.  You can see in seasoned players such as Ed Curnow who is showing what type of player he really is, under Teague, and this includes Levi Casboult, who for me, has one of the most reliable grabs in the game.  What Teague is giving to the playing group is the freedom and confidence to play the game in a way that made Carlton select them in the first place.  There will be times where we will lose not because of anything else other than lack of experience. But as Teague has said in the past, it is those times where the playing group that is, in essence, a young and inexperienced group, will learn from this time and grow and develop into being that very player that selectors saw when they were chosen.

To make a club great, you need to lay the foundation and I believe that Bolts did just that.  He took a shaky, run-down club and laid the foundations, as it was with him that we got the players we have.  This should not be taken away in any shape or form, but it is with a coach such as Teague who is taking that next step. In building on that foundation and creating something that is showing tinges of greatness and wonderful memories for this club.

Is he the man to do the job long-term?  After witnessing what I saw on the weekend, I am leaning towards a massive YES! His positivism, his way of speaking to everyone, including a very hoarse and tired supporter, that is calm and full of respect, I am leaning towards a massive YES! The way he goes about doing the coaching job, the subtle way of just getting the job done irrespective of the result, I’m leaning towards a massive YES! As others have put it, Teague’s training wheels on the bicycle of coaching should be taken off, and I’m leaning towards a massive YES!

Memories of great games, great interstate trips and meeting great people, are made of this stuff. That accidental, unplanned event that can turn a long day into a day filled with wonderful memories and seeing first hand what the right man for the job can do, is what makes the memory of Saturday’s game all the more – well memorable!