Un­der 14s show love of footy

Mansfield Courier - - Sport - By ANT FOUBISTER

BIG Blues bands (BB King Live at Mon­treaux 1993 play­ing The Thrill Is Gone), Blue­grass bands (Earl Scruggs & Friends, play­ing Foggy Moun­tain Break­down) even clas­si­cal or­ches­tras if you like (Chicago sym­phony, play­ing Beethoven 9); they are im­bued with qual­i­ties worth em­u­lat­ing as one goes about one’s play­ing of one’s foot­ball.

Ev­ery player prac­ticed, ev­ery player brave enough to stand up and take their turn as it rises, mod­est enough to pro­vide crit­i­cal sup­port their band mem­bers or team mates re­quire and ev­ery player, play­ing the same song, to­gether, played as hard and well as pos­si­ble, rid­ing a fine line be­tween dis­ci­pline and ex­pres­sion, no thought for vic­tory or de­feat, only for play­ing as well as one can.

Fac­ing a dan­ger game against the Wan­garatta Kan­ga­roos, the Ea­gles’ un­der 14 side had clearly gone to Wan­garatta with the in­ten­tion of play­ing the same song.

The col­lec­tive feel­ing good, con­cen­tra­tion steely.

And as I looked around the group, it was hard not to feel that in a very big fam­ily/broth­er­hood/sis­ter­hood sort of way.

Love (for foot­ball) was in the air in ev­ery sight and ev­ery sound, and I don’t know if I was be­ing fool­ish or be­ing wise, but it was some­thing that I must be­lieve in.

It was there when I looked in their eyes, yes, love (for foot­ball) was in the air, love (for foot­ball) was in the air.

Then the game started and, in a com­mit­ted, self­less, at­tack­ing style of foot­ball, they be­gan to play.

All play­ers keenly ac­cept­ing what­ever role was asked of them, for­ward, mid­dle or back, new or old; it didn’t mat­ter.

All play­ers pro­vid­ing fran­tic de­fen­sive pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion ball car­ri­ers.

All play­ers turned and were run­ning in num­bers, flat out, cre­at­ing havoc for the op­po­si­tion.

The Kan­gas were good, and they had some good play­ers, played with great spirit and fought it out to the very end, even win­ning the fi­nal quar­ter but the re­sult and Ea­gles vic­tory was a fair in­di­ca­tion of the day.

Car­los San­tana teaches us that when you play mu­sic, you are bring­ing light into the dark­ness; and that’s true.

Also true is that through will and ef­fort, when you run down an op­po­nent whose tear­ing to­ward their goals, force the ball free, your team mate col­lects it de­liv­ers with fran­tic pace to an­other team mate, col­lec­tively you swarm for­ward driv­ing the ball, per­fectly or im­per­fectly through your own goal, the whole world sud­denly feels a lot brighter too.

I don’t care who does it; go Ea­gles.

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