Life as an AFL player in 2020 is very different to that ever experienced in the 162-year history of our great game. Hub life is one significant change this year, a change I want to provide you some insights on.
The season has been a mixture of challenges and opportunities, two words that contrast in meaning because of perception rather than definition. Say challenge and we think of difficulty and struggle, say opportunity and we imagine more positively. In either case, you are in control of how you perceive a given situation.
“Pack your bags boys, we are off to Sydney at 6.30pm tomorrow evening” presented our next opportunity as we wrestled with the tape on our ankles and stiffness of joints after a great win against the Gold Coast Suns last Saturday night.
And so, we boarded two buses heading to Melbourne Jet base for a Virgin charted flight to Sydney, our first stop on the journey ahead. You can always find the best in something or someone if you have a positive mindset. The Melbourne Jet base is a private airport I assume is used by the rich and famous of our world. It was a cool place that I don’t think I would have ever frequented if the term COVID – 19 didn’t exist. It provided me some great visual cues to dream about when I win lotto one day.
Protocols are rightfully strict and thorough on our flight to Sydney. Melbourne Football Club was on the flight with us, one side of the plane for Demons, the other side for Cats. We touch down in Sydney and reboard buses once again. Protocols again are strict and exacting, with a limited number of people allocated to each bus as an example of making sure health always comes first.
From the tarmac, we speed off towards our hotel, the mood not too dissimilar to that of a normal interstate trip. Some banter, old stories, and newsworthy topics fill the conversation; being surrounded by people that you respect and trust makes any opportunity more meaningful. A late dinner and some much-needed rest rounded out the evening of day 1 of our road trip. Sure, there will be some bumps on that road ahead but you get used to a few bumps in competitive sport. In fact, you come to welcome those bumps because you know they always come with a chance, a prospect, a possibility to learn, to improve, to do something in your life that you would have never done otherwise. Bring on day 2.