[Mods, I’ve put this in Football Discussion cos I think it’s still relevant to EFC Football as explained half-way through, but please move if you deem appropriate]
Apologies in advance for the very long post… I hope you will find it a worthwhile read!
One thing I’ve done especially well as a parent, is ensuring my kids are passionate Essendon fans. Both have been members as long as they’ve been alive. My 7 year old son, it turns out, is a promising athlete. He has brilliant football handling skills, but is an unmitigated wuss when it comes to body contact, which - though unfortunately automatically pre-qualifies him for Carlton - would sadly leave him unlikely to ever represent EFC.
He is, however, already making under 12 representative teams at cricket, is excelling at soccer, and this past week, he joined the legendary Rob de Castella and Steve Moneghetti as apparently the only Australian males to currently hold age-group road running WORLD records for any distances under 20km.
At a big 10km event in Brisbane on Sunday that included elite adult athletes, he placed 41st of 1404 overall, 2nd in under 14s and by clocking 39 minutes and 27 seconds, lowered the existing 7 year old 10km world record by a whopping 3 minutes and 13 seconds! Due to his age we don’t usually let him run the 10K distance (he’s only ever run a handful, including training), but we relented to his pleas (happily as it turns out!) on this occasion! His main aim is in fact the 5km record, which he hopes to break in a race next month. He actually doesn’t ‘love’ running - cricket is his main ambition - but he loves the idea of breaking records! Note: the record still needs to be ratified, which can take quite some time, but as we understand it, he meets the criteria.
As an aside, our family are not runners, so although we knew he was good, we didn’t fully grasp how great his achievement and time was until the last few days when he’s had offers of sponsorship, promotion, free invitations to races and broader media interest than the local town rag including a proposed commercial radio interview! Perhaps way over the top for a 7 year old, but I guess some of these companies want to get in on the ground floor these days just in case the potential pays off later.
Now to the EFC and Blitz connection:
I’m a 10+ year Blitzer so I’m hoping the Blitz community indulges this proud dad with a little bit of gloating and tribute on a site I invest way to much free time on. By the way, my pride rests not so much in the record, but more in the determination, diligence, incredible sacrificial hard work, self-motivation, generosity, humility, caring, effervescence, fun, and outgoing nature already evident in my beautiful boy.
A number of Blitzers have met the lad at the BBQ earlier this year, so I thought this news would be something some of you might be interested in!
He ALWAYS races in an EFC top and often trains in one as well. He says it inspires him to “give his everything” when he knows he is running for the Bombers as well. His top is actually a Bali knock off he received as a gift when he was 3, but it still fits, though his previous favourite Courtenay Dempsey’s autograph has long faded off!
Late last year, when he was starting to show a lot of promise, I wrote to the club, sharing a bit about him and how he runs with EFC for inspiration. Very kindly, the club sent him a No. 5 jersey (dad’s favourite, but I’m sure he’d have preferred 6!), training top, shorts and Adidas bag. These were adult sizes so unfortunately, despite our efforts to adjust the size, they are too big for him… which however, is good news for dad who gladly wears it in support of his son!
Since he always wears his EFC top, he’s actually getting a lot of free publicity up here in QLD for the club… photos on main stream and social media, articles where he talks about EFC and he even publicly thanks the club for his gear whenever he’s interviewed. He’s also had many people come up to him and talk about Essendon after his races.
Essendon is HIS inspiration, of that we are sure, even though for virtually all of his young life, he has known nothing but Saga and under-performance. Red sash on black makes him stand taller, run faster, try harder. His guiding motto is: ‘Hard work always beats talent, if talent does not always work hard’. I wonder then, if it might not be too far away (if not right now), where the roles are reversed and this little world beater might offer the inspiration that sparks his club instead? Many other runners have already shown through social media that he has inspired them to PBs. He certainly inspires his old man, perhaps his story might even inspire a blitzer or two or a player as well!
Linked below is an a newspaper article that appeared in our regional paper online a couple of days ago and in print today. On the back page of the print version is a full close up photo of him running on our ‘training trail’, with the EFC logo front and centre! The second link is to the original Facebook post about him made by the running event organisers shortly after the race.
If you’ve made it to the end of this dissertation, well done… and sincerely - thank you!