Teacher, Preacher – Tom Atkins: Round 1 Hope

It’s Round 1 but I’m not heading to watch the Cats take on the Pies tonight.


My other gang – probably 40,000 of them, will go to the MCG tonight and fill the seats that have been longing for the squeals of excitement and chatter of nerves that footy season bears once again.


They’re anticipating Round 1 and so am I; hoping, maybe even praying for something special in 2019 for our Catters.


I was planning to get there, with my Dad, but our house got flooded last week and I had a tough week at school and suddenly, footy was pushed to the back of my mind (this is unheard of!).


I forgot about footy and packed everything into my car to get out of the wreck that is my house.


It was a week of emotion. I complained at no end and stressed my head off. We have been moving around from apartments to hotels and are still yet to settle.


Then I saw something that Geelong player Tom Atkins said to Simon Lloyd, when he missed out on being drafted for the 2018 season.


NOVEMBER 27, 2017:


“Hi Tom, obviously a difficult period for you. You are rated highly by many at the club and were discussed at length. We will continue to support you in whatever way we can to help you reach you goal of playing AFL in the future. Regards, Simon Lloyd.” – Simon Lloyd.


“Hey Lloydy. Thanks mate, I really appreciate the message, It’s all good though, putting a list together is a tricky job and not everyone can be a winner. Bigger things going on in the world mate, I still get to have a run around in the 2s! Will catch you round the club” – Tom Atkins.


I was taken aback, for many reasons, really.


It excites me, makes me proud that he is part of the club I am so invested in.


The mentality, professionalism and understanding is genuine. It’s the Geelong way.


He makes his debut tonight and there’s no one more deserving than him on that list.


He reminds me of James Podsiadly. So many years of waiting, pushing and improving to reach the big time.


His work ethic has lead him to here and his determination has rendered him deserving of the spot he has earned.


But it’s deeper than football.


It’s people like Tom who make you realise how lucky we all are to live in such a great country and an even greater city.


Footy, while it means so much, means nothing at all.


It’s kicking a ball around an oval for a few hours, but it’s something we get the honour of admiring and even playing ourselves.


It’s a privilege. An escape.


Like Tom Atkins, life threw me a curve-ball that I will overcome.


I’ve still got my family, my gang and my footy, which makes me more than lucky. It makes me blessed.


So, I think we all should remember the simple words and mentality of Atkins moving forward. I know I will.


Football is one of the greatest joys we get to experience.


Never forget that, win or loss.


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About Anna Pavlou

Anna 'Pav' Pavlou is a current student and a born and bred Melburnian who has a passion for sport and sharing people's stories. She is an intern journalist for AFL VICTORIA and writes for The Roar, the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA Media), the Mongrel Punt and is a Melbourne Cricket Club contributor. She also appears on North West FM 98.9 radio show. Most winter weekends you'll find her down at the Ross Gregory Oval in St Kilda, supporting Power House FC, who play in Division 2 in the VAFA. She works as the Division 2 writer for the VAFA. She completed work experience with 3AW Radio and has been published in The Age as well as with Carlton FC and Geelong Cats. Check out her website below for more sport pieces!


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Tom had a great debut last night Anna which I’m sure brought a lot joy to many people. Never give in!

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