Lessons passed on from Dad through Football

“Just kick the bloody thing” my father and I screamed out in unison as Lewis Roberts-Thomson had ambition confused with ability as he tried to clear the ball from defence. When it comes to football I am clearly my father’s son.

Last weekend I took my 6 week old son Jack to Wagga to meet his Grandparents and while three generations of Dodson men watched their beloved Swans I had a chance to reflect on what my Dad had taught me through football, which I hope to pass onto Jack.

First of the lessons to be taught was the importance of sacrificing your needs for others, Dad would juggle shifts and put up with early starts so he could get to junior footy training by 4.30pm and teach a bunch of 8 year olds the fundamentals. Sacrifice was also taught by busting his gut in a job he didn’t like so that a roof was kept over our heads and I had a pair of adidas screw ins. Sacrifice was also taught by his football ethos – smother, sheppard, tackle and do the team thing.

The value of common sense was also taught, no need for the words structure/process/zone with my old man, football was a simple game played by simple people, kick long to advantage, tackle hard and stick up for your mates were the only tactical advice needed.

Loyalty was a cornerstone of football 101 to Dad, you picked your team and stuck to it no matter what, even when Ricky Mott misses a goal from 10 meters out directly in front to cost Rockett his job or when Luke Ablett hits Ben Cousins on the chest with the perfect pass in the 05 GF.

The value of hard work was clear in football to Dad, as a 12 year old (with more puppy fat than Jobe Watson when he landed at windy hill) I was bemused when Dad ordered me to run for 10 minutes around the oval before we could have a kick one day. “Bugger that Dad, i’m playing full forward this week I won’t even have to move from the square” , I bellowed, Dad simply explained that a crack bunch of 11 year olds may not deliver the ball with the precision of Darren Jarman so I would need to get my own ball and to do that I needed to be fitter than Ricky May. Point made.

Winning isn’t everything was also learnt through football. After the under 10 Turvey Park Bombers (including Cameron Mooney) lost to the Wagga Tigers (including former Wallaby Captain Nathan Sharpe, who coincidentally stitched me up in the ruck) I was in tears. A simple handshake from Dad and a message that as long as I gave it my best then there was no shame in losing was all I needed to hear.

While I am sure Dad taught me the above lessons in other ways it was through football that they became ingrained in my culture. To this day we still yarn at every opportunity about football.

If young Jack decides that he wants to get involved in football then I hope I can teach him the lessons Dad passed onto me, I look forward to the opportunity and hope I can do Dad justice.

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.

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