Thursday 28 April 2011

The game of Australian football is a way of life for many people, especially those fortunate enough to work within the industry.

AFL Queensland staff attended their annual State Conference last week and were asked by chief executive Richard Griffiths to write down in two minutes what the game meant to them.

Griffiths was genuinely touched by the responses.

A collection of those thoughts and feelings are reproduced here:

“The excitement of the contest, the passion of the supporters, the hopes and dreams of kids, the commitment of club volunteers, the power of this history and the journey to the future.  AFL…it should be everyone’s game…I love it!”

“An opportunity to express myself, to be an equal, to be part of a bigger picture.”

“AFL football is a way of life…it creates a passion in people very few things can…it provides people with hope, and allows them to be released from their day to day life…”

“I talk to kids every day about AFL being the game we invented, it’s the only one we have invented.  I took it for granted when I was a kid and didn’t fully embrace how lucky I was to have an opportunity to play, make friends and be enveloped in, what is the greatest physical contest on the planet…we invented it! The game is my life. Spending 7 days a week around it, it is hard not to at times, love it and hate it. The underlying goal that keeps me going is that I can pass on the life skills to a younger and older generation.”

“It’s the memories…the swings by the clubhouse, fetching the ball from behind the goals and telling the fullback who to kick it in to, doing the scoreboard for a can of coke after the game. It’s the exhilaration of running onto the ground with my team and the pride in my jumper. My first and last AFL games. Going to my parents place and seeing my old jumpers in the cupboard and the feeling they give me.”

“The laughter in the kids and enjoying their joy. The ability to tie significant moments of my life to the game.  The rush, the heartbreak, the injuries and hospital stays, the highs, the lows, mate tears and plenty of beers! A journey that has no defined destination. The thought of my next generation.”

“The game means so much to me – it has been my life since early age, playing, coaching and administration – and now it is time for me to give back, with my knowledge that I have learned over those years.”

“AFL to me is one of Australia’s greatest sporting contests that displays the qualities that are quintessentially Australian…courage, determination, mateship and that “never say die” attitude through to the final siren.  AFL in many ways embodies what it is to be Australian.”

“The game caters for all shapes and sizes, religions and creeds, nationalities and personalities.  It is inclusive and opens up more opportunities, friendships and career progressions than I would have ever considered.  At all levels, being player, volunteer, coach or administrator, it allows the competitive juices to flow.”

“The game of AFL is an all encompassing part of Australian society.  From the history of the first games to the new AFL Auskickers, there are opportunities for people from all walks and stages of life to be involved and feel that they are part of something that is long standing, exciting and innovative.”

“The game has been my whole life from “Vic Kick” being my earliest memory at age 5 to moving to the Gold Coast to chase my lifelong dream of working for and in the AFL.  I risked everything in the hope of capturing my dream job and I have obtained it as well….”

“This game has been the focus of my life from age 4, visiting Moorabbin to watch the Saints with my Grandmother.  It brings me closer to my family and gives me an opportunity to contribute to my community.  I wouldn’t be who I am without it.”

“A love of a game that I’ve shared with the most important people in my life.  It’s the one activity that brings together our family no matter where we are. It’s a love, a moment in time when nothing appears wrong in the world.  It’s a shared love…”

“The game is more than a game to me.  It’s a connection to my family and a way in which we have been able to be closer to them.  Something I’ll ensure will be passed on through the generations that follow me.  I love that it’s Australia’s Indigenous game…”

“The game, or at least things connected to the game has given me most of my quality life experiences.  From the adrenalin of playing the game, to the lifelong friendships, and now making a living off the game, it has had a positive effect on almost every aspect of my life.  I still have a passion for the game…from helping develop young players through to just watching the game, AFL brings good people together….”

“The game is my passion, a family passion. It takes up all my time and I wouldn’t have it any other way….”

“What I love about the game of AFL is its ability to engage such a vast array of cultures, communities, families and more recently, internationally.”

“It is a great passion; my love for the game drives me to perform my role at the highest possible level to see it continue to grow in Queensland.  Hopefully all the work we put into our roles will see AFL become the number one sport in Queensland in the future.”

“Memories of the backyard playing by myself and commentating! ‘Langford chips to Collins out wide to Pritchard who takes a bounce and goes over the top to the “Rat” who drills it down Dunstall’s throat”….”Dunstall from 75 drills it”….then running past and high fiving the plants.  AFL gives people the opportunity to dream and to believe.”

“Everything…having played, coached and worked in the greatest game in Australia, I feel privileged to have a stake in the future of the sport.”

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