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Round 18 – Fremantle v Sydney: My preferred interpretation of success!

I am the first to admit that when we lose, my articles tend to concentrate on aside matters rather than the game itself.

And this will be no different.


In a week where emotions have oscillated between sadness, anger, disgust and disbelief revolving around the documentary “The Final Quarter”, one emotion, however, has overridden all others. That of respect for the man at the centre of the discussion, Adam Goodes.

I felt compelled to join in the conversation, in response to some ugly negative words from some, and wrote on the Swans Facebook page: “Despite the vitriolic comments from the right-wing extremists, and the ignorance shown by many of the white commentators in the media, the overwhelming thing that came from the documentary was Adam himself! Never once did he criticize anyone; never once did he blame anyone; never once did he show anger; never once did he react negatively. Instead, he was compassionate, considerate, articulate and intelligent in all of his responses – especially when talking of his indigenous brothers and sisters, and what they have had to endure since white people took over their land. May Adam Goodes stand proud. May he continue to enlighten and inspire us all – black and white – and may his name nobly stand along his predecessors who have fought and struggled to make a difference.”

With Adam and racism still the focus on Saturday, the game against Freo almost seemed insignificant. And that is certainly saying something, coming from me!

Sure, we didn’t come away with a win, but it didn’t seem to really matter all that much. Don’t get me wrong! Like all fans when their team loses, I was pretty devastated. Every kick or pass into Freo’s forward line and then back into ours, in those frenetic final five minutes, had my heart pounding, my voice hoarse, and my mind focused on one thing and one thing only: a win! Of course, I want my team to win. At all times. Week after week. Year after year. My perfectionist and competitive nature simply compounds those attitudes. But, the logical and realistic part of the brain knows that can’t be the case. Especially just now, with the Swans fielding the youngest team of the round – yet again – as we progress through a transition period, in order to become a force of the future.

As I lay in bed, unable to sleep after the game, my mind wondered about success and what it really means.

Most dictionaries describe is as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”, which is pretty straight forward. But, I like a slightly different interpretation: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” These fine wise words of wisdom are attributed to John Robert Wooden, an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California, Los Angeles, born in 1910. He also said: “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

Tossing and turning throughout the night, my scattered mind all over the place after the one–point loss, and imagining how our young players were feeling, I tried to focus on John Robert Wooden’s insightful words. I thought about effort and striving in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. It made such sense. And not only when talking of success on a sporting field – especially in a professional sporting environment – where, these days, winning is paramount, and losing is seen as a failure.

I thought of people who, to me, are perhaps the most successful. Those we know nothing about, who don’t appear in the newspapers, on television, or on social media. They are those who selflessly devote their time and energy to others: the volunteers and carers of the world; the people who, unafraid to face backlash, encourage us all to question our beliefs – and if necessary, to then change them in order to create a more humane and loving world.

I also tried to apply John Robert Wooden’s success to my footy team, and how, as young professional athletes, the players are putting in enormous effort and courage to do their best. They are striving to become the best that they can become.

What more can we ask of them?

At 4am I finally dozed off to sleep, with “Go the Mighty Bloods” at the forefront of my now–stilled mind.

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.


  1. Rhonda Carson says

    WOW and wow! Jan what a fabulous, thought provoking article… From one Swans tragic to another I love your work … Jan, I am proud to stand with you, and, I am extremely proud and humbled to stand with Adam .
    Cheer, cheer x

  2. Jan, sorry about the Swans’ loss and infuriated about the insipid performance by the Crows. Regarding Adam Goodes – he’s one of the greatest footballers i have ever had the pleasure of watching – enough sad. There’s no excuses for booing a champion.

    All the very best to you Jan and don’t forget to Cheer Cheer.

    In the meantime, I’ll try to think positive about the Crows.

  3. Lynn Nadjarian says


    Just gobsmacked at your reflections n wise words and I totally am with you on our teams perfomance this season n particularly the latest game against The Dockers.

    We have folliwed since the beginning in NSW n and after the long lean years, we have had a dream run compared to most teams. This year is all about rebuilding n blooding new young players n we are so excited to see the skill set building every week. Adam was alwsys a fav player od ours n we mourned his early retirement. There are many racists in Oz. Thank you n keep up the great reviews!

  4. Keiran Croker says

    Jan, like you I hate losing. During a game my focus is on every kick and handball leading towards goals and… onwards to victory! A loss brings angst.
    However this season has brought perspective and yes, success is relative. I have every confidence we are moving in the right direction and am loving what our young players are doing! Go Bloods!
    Cheer, cheer!

  5. Lorri Fletcher says

    Hi Jan
    Thanks for your great articles. Like you, I am a mad passionate tragic supporter, except I bleed purple. I too had a thumping heart in that last two minutes, and the result could’ve easily have gone either way.
    I proudly wore my Number 37 guernsey to the game, for a few reasons. To remember our great Michael Johnson (who I was lucky enough to bump into at the stadium, and of course I showed him the number!), for our new tall gun Rory Lobb, but mostly for the fabulous Goodsey (as we were playing the Swans). Johno seemed pleased to hear that too.
    It may surprise you, but I have a framed, signed photo of Goodsey with the 2003 Brownlow replica on my wall. What a champion!

  6. Rhonda: You are so with your words. Many thanks and a loud Cheer Cheer!

    Fisho: Thanks once again, and don’t worry, I’ll never stop Cheer Cheering!

    Lynn: Thank you also for your kind words, and agree totally with your comments. Cheer Cheer

    Keiran: We just keep going, as die-hard Bloods. Thanks and Cheer Cheer!

    Lori! So nice to hear from you after all this time! Must have been back in about 2015 when we corresponded. I recall you telling me of your Goodesy signed photo then; what a treasure! Thanks and take good care. (Rory Lobb seems to have settled in well since moving from the Giants).

  7. polly courtin says

    hey Jan thanks for reminding me that COURAGE. PASSION. EFFORT. are great to play with. what a courageous team our swannies.
    what an uplifting story you told

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