Tragedy inspires comeback for an old stager

OK, so I did lie a little, my retirement lasted slightly shorter than an Australian swimmer but I guess the bug hits some people earlier than it does to others. Don’t ask why I’m doing this (I’m about to tell you anyway!), but unfinished business actually has nothing to do with it.

I am typing this entry on the Tilt Train en route to a lightning carnival that we are involved in at Bundaberg, close to the midway point between Rockhampton (where if you don’t know I am normally based), and Brisbane. We were originally going to do the Airlie Beach carnival, but wet weather and lukewarm interest seemed to scupper any such plans. Not to worry, we still participated in Allan Jeans’ favorite type of match, an intraclub practice match. It was on a saturated field after a week of almost non-stop rain, and my first proper run in a match situation since the first semi final last year remembering that I spent all but 5 minutes of the prelim plucking the splinters out of the bottom resulted in a calf strain. It actually originally felt as though it was a knee problem, but as the match wore on and I stupidly played on the injury was isolated to the top of the calf. It took 4 days for the injury to heal sufficiently, and now there’s no such problems to prevent me playing this weekend.

Now to the question as to WHY I came back. Well there are 2 reasons that I can basically narrow it down to. Since the GF a number of players have departed the club to other sports (one of whom is now playing in the Queensland State League for the Capricorn Cougars, playing The World Game), others have left to play elsewhere. Naturally this opens up enough spots in the side even allowing for a number of recruits from the Tasmanian Southern Football League and even the Vic Amateur Club 18 competition.

The other reason simply reminds us of how fragile life can be. During January we tragically lost our star full-forward Aiden Colbourne who died in an apparent suicide (you can do a google search for the details, it’s in at least a couple of regional papers). As if we didn’t need enough motivation to seek back to back crowns in both senior grades, now each and every member of our senior teams have someone to dedicate the whole season to, if not themselves. The tragedy of it all was that throughout the last 12 months we had seen Aiden basically grow into a man before our eyes. Some of us I doubt may ever get over why this happened, personally I will be carrying something to remember him by each match. However I won’t be doing this with a black armband which I’m certain we will be wearing this weekend and probably next weekend to start the season and also at our last home game which is memorial day (I will be wearing one of course). But each week I’ll simply write somewhere below the jumper on the torso AC18, his initials and his playing number. I just need to purchase a marker pen when I get to Bundy whilst trying to avoid the local drop!

The actual AFL Capricornia season begins next weekend with a home game against Gladstone. At least we hope it’s a home game. With all the recent rain and the flooding in January in which engulfed our ground (and I have pictures to prove it), we’re hoping works on our ground are able to be completed in time. It is anticipated that I’ll be missing for 3 games when the Doggies are playing Sydney (in Canberra), the Eagles (in Perth) and Gold Coast on the Coast, and I may report in with something from those games. For now though, it’s time to settle back on the tilt train which is travelling much like the approach to the season, at close to 100 kilometres an hour.

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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