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Friday 15 May 2015

200-Fat's 200th-How Penno coaches shaped my life

I played a season in the AFL under Rodney Eade & Damian Drum at the Sydney Swans, did a pre-season under Neale Daniher at the Melbourne Demons, had 2 seasons under Graeme Yeats at Sandringham and played under David Noble at the RAMS - but it was the advice I got from coaches at the Pennant Hills Demons that showed me that you have to keep giving life a crack no matter what comes along to try and stop you.

The first piece of advice I got was from Trevor Daykin when I was just a boy - Trev used to tell us that no matter what the score was, whether you're 100 points up, 100 points down, or scores were level, you keep trying just as hard. It sounded like good advice in theory, but when his son Matthew kicked a goal on the siren to beat Baulkham Hills in a Grand Final after it looked like Penno were certain to lose, I knew it was advice I'd draw on again.

I was still a boy when I moved into the senior club at Penno and played under club legend Steve Barratt, but after getting pumped by Wests by 96 points in the Grand Final qualifier, I thought it might have been Barro that needed some advice. How he responded to that loss however, taught me a lot about how to deal with a crisis - not so much by what Barro SAID, but what he DID. He stayed calm and kept making good, rational decisions. He didn't freak out and start dropping players and bring in new blokes, he made a subtle change to the game plan that he thought might confuse St George in the preliminary final enough that we could beat them, then face Wests again in the Grand Final. This approach worked a treat - we beat St George in the preliminary final by more than 50 points (16-12-108 to 7-10-52) to put us into the GF against Wests - our young side won the mental challenge - scores were level about 2 minutes from full time, but Wests won the physical challenge and kicked 2 late goals to win the premiership.

Some of the best advice I got was from a Penno coach who took us nowhere near a Grand Final, but I've lost count how many times I've repeated things I learned from Danny Ryan when times have been tough. The team got a lot of pearls from "Big Dan" - some full of wisdom, some full of something else - but one of the best was "focus on the game plan and the result will take care of itself," which to me always meant you should make your decisions with conviction, then stick to your guns no matter what comes along to try and knock you off the path you're walking.

One of my most important coaches was the man who coached me in my 100th game, Jarrod Myers. I actually don't remember anything Jarrod said, but he won the Grand Final that year so he must have been good.

So if you're a Pennant Hills Demon, listen to your coach - even if it's Clarkey - you may not realise it at the time, but they will be giving you all the tools you need to give life the biggest crack you can.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

199-200th Blog reading-TOMORROW

If good things come to those who wait, my 200th blog reading tomorrow night (Thurs 14/5)  - about how Pennant Hills AFL coaches have helped me give life the best crack I can - will lift the lid off Al's Bar at Mike Kenny Oval in Cherrybrook after Demons training.

I have been honing my story to make sure it leaves audiences with the tools they need to take on life's challenges, and this blog will do exactly that. As well as the message I will pass on when I read my 200th blog, I will also be giving out 92 copies of a shortened version of my book - there was a printing error that leaves the book finishing 2 pages into chapter 9.

So for anyone looking for a shot of inspiration, come down to Penno training tomorrow night, watch the boys run around, grab a copy of "Playing in the PUDDLES", and hear my reading of my 200th blog.

*Training starts at 6.30 & finishes at 7.45, I will read my blog at around 8 pm at Mike Kenny Oval, Shepherds Dr, Cherrybrook. 

Tuesday 12 May 2015

198-Never underestimate "being there"

When a loved one is in need, people around them often lament "I feel helpless" or "what could I possibly do to help?", but yesterday, during my wife's straight forward day surgery procedure, her sister & nephew showed exactly what you can do...

Just be there.

As we sat in the waiting room waiting for Angela to be called, there were no pearls of wisdom or psychologically consoling conversations, the wait was as uneventful as a visit to the dentist. Ange's nephew played limbo under the line marking strap at the reception counter, then Ange taught him how to say "giddy-up" as she played horsie and the waiting room was filled with the laughter of a 2 year old.

Thanks largely to the sheer presence of her sister & nephew, when Ange's name was called she walked to the rooms calm, composed and supported. When the surgery was complete and we were called in to be with Angela in post-op recovery, she was feeling so well that she offered to play horsie with her nephew while she was still hooked up to an iv tube.

After the discharge briefing from the nurse, we left together like we had just been grocery shopping together - there were no raised emotions and no stress - it was actually quite a pleasant day. In what could have been a trying day, it turned out there was no "time of need" because Angela had her sister by her side.

So next time you feel helpless, or that you're not able to help your loved one because you don't know what to do, don't underestimate the value of just being there.    

Saturday 9 May 2015

197-what mothers do for their children

Whatt my mothers Denise and Mary did for Angela and I today showed how lucky we are to have the mothers we have.

The day started at Mary's house, where Angela and I went to cook breakfast for mum #1, but found that all the ingredients had already been bought. So Angela and  I took our 6 eggs (the only ingredients Mary hadn't bought) and went and cooked up some bacon and eggs-Mary also provided ham, cheese and rose hip tea!

From Mum #1, we headed to mum #2-my mum, Denise in Thornleigh, where we found her out the front of our family home which was in the middle of an open house inspection before auction in a couple of weeks-she was with her car that was loaded with a lawn mower, a garden hose, a guerney, several brooms and a rake. She was coming out to Quakers Hill to help Angela and I tidy up the house Ange has just about finished renovating, and tidy we did! Thanks to the help of our mothers and our good friends Mirelle and Hany, Quakers Hill is 1 working bee away from being finished.

So to our mothers-happy Mother's Day tomorrow, thank you for everything you have done for us, and everything you continue to do for us.

We both love you very much.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

195-Blepharospasm- blink and I'll miss it by Kokoda

My uncontrolled blinking condition (blepharospasm) has been getting worse & worse since it started a couple of years ago - due to wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels - but after seeing a new diabetes expert today, I feel like the problem could be solved before I walk Kokoda in October.

Blepharospasm started out being a funny little quirk, like when I walked into a telegraph pole while I was walking along holding a girl's hand, but yesterday I fell into a flowerbed after tripping over the stone wall, so it's now getting downright dangerous - but today I saw Wendy Bryant, a type 1 diabetes and insulin pump expert who started talking a language I felt was going to fix my blepharospasm. We readjusted my basal rates, increased my insulin sensitivity, and tomorrow I'll be fasting so we can understand how my bodies natural insulin production works.

I have no idea if these new tactics will work, but I got a good vibe, so hopefully the next time I talk about blepharospasm is when I say "yeh-I used to have that."

Monday 4 May 2015

194-Barnaby's message going full circle

The message I've been developing over the last few years in my speaking - that all anyone can do in life is give whatever is in front of them the best crack they can and let the chips fall where they may -was largely developed on the footy field, but this morning it goes full circle when I talk at Roseville Public School in front of a former team mates daughters.

One of the best footballers to ever play at Pennant Hills -Tim Nunan (Noodles), sent me a note saying I'll be speaking in front of his 2 daughters at Roseville this morning and it made me proud to think that my speaking has gone from a 'nice story about a guy who's gone through some hard times & come out of it stronger', to an inspiring speech that adds value to any audience who hears it.

So I can't wait  to pass on my message to Roseville Public.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

193-Good decisions + good people = good results

Sometimes life is made too complicated, but after a potentially messy roster change at work yesterday was made as smooth as duck poo on a linoleum floor, it made me realise that simply being good to other people means they're usually good to you in return.

My wife & I wanted to spend more time together, so I decided to apply to have Monday's off work, and it was all organised without a shred of drama. Getting a roster at work changed may not go down as a lifetime achievement, but it demonstrated how when you keep life simple, things seem to fall your way.

A combination of good decisions and being good to people has resulted in good results for me, so I thought I'd share my process. Life is complicated enough as it is - just watch ABC News 24 one day for proof - so why make it more complicated by worrying about things you can't change? All I've ever done is what my footy coach used to tell us: "focus on the game plan & let the result take care of itself."

Life's not fair, and there are no answers, so don't lose sleep trying to find them - rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, but there comes a time when you just have to get over it and go and play in the puddles.

PS. As I was writing this blog, I got an email from the publisher of my book, IndieMosh Publishing which gave proof that being nice to people can end up in good results. I ordered 111 copies of my book. but  IndieMosh rounded the order up to 115 "as a small thank you for being so nice to work with"