Players make it special for kids
IMAGINE being a seven-year-old child and going to a qualifying final to see your team, the West Coast Eagles, beat the reigning premiers by 32 points.
Imagine the excitement of cheering your team to victory, being part of a Mexican wave, singing the club song with about 40,000 other fans after the big win and then heading down to the fence.
Imagine holding out your hand and having the players give you a high-five as they celebrate.
And then, as if it can’t get any better than that, imagine Luke Shuey, one of your heroes, leaning over the fence and asking whether you want to join him on the oval.
And with that he picks you up and says ‘want to come down the rooms and sing the song with the boys?’.
Imagine all that – every young supporter’s dream – and bring it to reality.
Then you have the night of Wembley Junior Football Club’s Jake Smethurst, a devoted young West Coast fan who was at the ground with his grandmother to watch the second qualifying against Hawthorn.
One lucky youngster is plucked from the crowd to join Eagles players for the team song each time West Coast play at home.
On this occasion it was Jake who experienced the once-in-alife-time dream.
Jake was able to head down the race, holding Luke’s hand and then be part of the players’ circle as they sang together, ‘We’re the Eagles, West Coast Eagles…’.
His mother, Kellie, said he could hardly contain his excitement when he raced through the doors of the family home.
“Jake is an avid Eagles supporter and has been virtually since he was born,” Kellie said.
“My mother is a noteholder, so he went with her and was just so stoked when he came home.
“He was going at a million miles an hour and was absolutely over the moon. Because it was a final, mum and Jake were not sitting in the usual seats and at the end of the game when he raced down to the fence he was under strict instructions to stay behind it.
“I guess he figured when Luke invited him over it was OK.”
Young Jake Smethurst with his hero Luke Shuey.