In the past week, we have seen Jacob Weitering win the very prestigious John Nicholls award at Carlton. One of the most humble and down-to-earth people that you could meet; this is highlighted in how he goes about not only his footy but off-field as well. His thankyou speech was one that just shows how much of a team-player and Carlton stalwart he is. Yet, he wasn’t always seen to be the player he has now become. After his first year, some said he should have been traded or is just no good. The similarities between his journey and Paddy Dow is the exact same thing, yet there are those who believe that what happens in another player is the same for all. Most do not really understand that people behave, grow and develop differently, and in this respect, in sport, what one player may take days or weeks to develop, another can take months or years.
As I have stated before, Luke Hodge took four years to finally become the championship player that he is, no-one else said this; he did in an interview a few years ago. It took him that long to develop and to grow into his body. The John Hopkins Medical website has stated that teenage boys and when players are drafted to a club, they are still teenagers and are still going through the latent stages of puberty. This means that while their body size may increase, their feet, arms, legs and hands may grow faster than the rest of the body, making them feel clumsy. Having boys myself, I understand this completely.
These boys who are drafted straight from school, for they are still boys, progress at different rates. We cannot expect every player to be a Sam Walsh or even a Connor Rozee. We have to understand that each boy develops not at the pace we want but at their pace. Weiters has stated quite emphatically that he sympathises with Paddy Dow and his once dynamic abilities on the field, to his now decrease in those same abilities. Paddy Dow has shown that he can become a fantastic player for the club, but he must, like Weiters, be given the time to develop and mature into a man and not a boy. This will take time and will only happen if given that time and the opportunities to grow. He is starting to enter into the step from being a boy to a man, and I know that 2021 will see him show this to the Carlton world.
We have to give some boys time to develop and grow into players’ bodies and minds that will take Carlton to future successes. Not all are the same. Weiters has shown what patience and time can achieve; we need to give Dow the same time. I firmly believe that he will become a fantastic player for the club and the game, just as I firmly believed that Weiters when he was going through the same process, would be the amazing player he is now.
We cannot state that just because a handful of boys are the real deal from the get-go, all should be the same. No two bodies develop or grow alike, and no two players do the same. For some, it takes time, and while I know that we are impatient for continual success, we have endured the climb for a while now; with some setbacks, we just need to be a little more patient. The end result will be well worth it.