Almanac Book Review: ‘The Things That Makes Us: Life, Loss and Football’ by Nick Riewoldt

Retired Saint Nick is a unique bloke.

 

I had sensed it before I got the book as he is married to an American beauty. Reading his autobiography deepens my consciousness of his uniqueness.

 

Riewoldt chose to write about not only footy but also his life including his family, friends and the tragic of losing his sister, Maddie.

 

What adds my perception of Nick being so unique is that he thought it would be good to be together with Cath to be seen him as a person rather than an AFL footballer. As Cath is a Texas girl, she would have no idea what AFL was and see him differently.

 

Rooey has demonstrated strong leadership on field, but I am surprised to hear he has faced anxiety on game days. And he was hard on himself when he was not satisfied with his on-field performances.

 

And his getting emotional on game days was kept behind closed doors like when Maddie’s death brought him to tears in the rooms at the stadium.

 

His honesty and uniqueness touched me.

 

Nick’s competitive mind and leadership have been established from his childhood experiences. The former was born matured when he played cricket with his family. He wanted his family to play the sport properly. The latter was built up as he was the oldest child when his Dad and Mum were separated for a while.

 

Riewoldt has been dealing with spotlight and thinks the circumstances are both positive and negative.

 

Reading about St Kilda schoolgirl scandal was the hardest and toughest for me. I admit that knowledge  of the scandal kept me from supporting the club (I was neutral at the time when it erupted). Then as you know, the club’s commitment in New Zealand locked me to become a Sainter.

 

The past is over and I am investing the bright future, was my thought when the club announced to play Anzac Day clashes in my favourite Wellington.

 

Maddie’s fight with bone marrow failure was another tough part to read. I guess his Mum, Fiona was unable to read this part of the book.

 

Then his time off in the US relieves him as he can escape from spotlight where he can just be himself. He wears what locals do in Texas and that surprises me.

 

The family had such tough times with a lot of emotion. But people surrounding with Riewoldts are so generous.

 

I admit, I had negative thoughts on Brendon Goddard in the past because he chose money rather than loyalty. But knowing BJ rushed into Royal Melbourne Hospital when Maddie’s conditions went worse on Boxing Day in 2014 while he was watching the Boxing Day Test cricket at MCG, has changed my mind.

 

He is generous and has a warm heart. Now I understand Rooey and BJ enjoy a strong friendship. My perception of BJ being grumpy all the time also has been lifted. In a picture he is smiling lifting up Billie, his daughter while Nick holding his son James.

 

Nick describes other friendships in the book too.

 

Grant Thomas is someone whom I admire a lot. His story of urging young players to invest themselves for the future is impressive. His spending time with his players while he was coaching St Kilda is so wonderful and inspiring. Thommo established strong bonds at the club. Nick still seeing Thommo after he was sacked by the club touches me well.

 

His friendships with other club players, especially Bob Murphy and Jarryd Roughead are outstanding. It’s great to know.

 

This book brings me different perceptions of the life of Rooey and himself. It is interesting to read.

 

You would know about the life of footballers more with this book.

 

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.

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