The response from my first blog post has been overwhelming, humbling and somewhat embarrassing.
I was interested to see what the reaction of it might be. I thought it may gain a little bit of interest, but definitely not to the degree that it did. The comments were unbelievable. Like literally unbelievable. I had been put on a pedestal which I don’t know that I had even experienced as a pro rugby player. Nelson Mandela would have been humbled to receive the praise I did at his eulogy, and he changed a nation!!! It didn’t sit comfortably with me at all. What was it that I had done exactly that had stirred this up?
I’m not entirely sure why there was such a connection with the blog. Was it because the stay at home mums finally had a voice in which their partners might listen to what it was they went through every day and how tough it was? That they weren’t just whingers and whiners, that this was bloody exhausting work. Was it that men finally had someone stand up and say that it was perfectly OK to do it? It’s tough but thoroughly enjoyable, and they could relate to that as they had been doing it themselves. Was it that I had spoken so openly about the injury and the transition that I’m going through and the uncertainty that I will face in the future? Expressing my emotions so openly with anyone who bothered to read the blog.
I mean lets not forget, I’m a pretty blokey Aussie bloke, professional rugby player of 10 seasons, and it’s not like I’m a winger or a halfback (watch Brett Sheehan take the bait on this one). I’m hardly what you’d call a metrosexual- does that term even still exist?
Ewelina pointed out she couldn’t believe how many blokes had commented on the post and connected, congratulating me and relating to my situation, so openly on a Facebook post.
The admiration, and congratulations and other ridiculous titles that I received were definitely not what I expected or set out to achieve. I didn’t think it would receive that reaction.
So what was it that I wanted to achieve by starting a blog?
First and foremost I enjoy expressing myself. A blog is a more intelligent way of expressing your thoughts and opinions than simply commenting or sharing a feed, link or article on social media without any thought or consideration. You have to really think about it, consider many things and then find a way to express that in a genuine tone that people can read it in your voice, without all the swearing.
It also allows people to see the real me. This is me. One of the benefits about being ‘done’ is that I am no longer worried about my ‘image’ or changing your perception. I couldn’t really care less what you think of me, but, this is me. Some people when they first meet me are surprised I have even finished school, let alone got a degree, and a Business degree at that!
“Oh really you’re studying? Where at TAFE?”.
“No, Griffith University”
I can see why people may be surprised when finding this out about me. Rugby player, long blonde wild looking hair, runs around on the field like a rooster with its head cut off, swears, generally in the mix if there’s a scuffle, on the receiving end of plenty of them ha, but not as bad as Ed Quirk. I’ve got the country twang/drawl or whatever it is, that has even been described as ocka.
I’m real. I drink, I swear, don’t smoke, I’ve occasionally womanised and done plenty of things I wish I hadn’t have or I’m not proud of. But I am genuine and honest, which means I will tell you to “pull ya head in” If I think you’re acting like a dickhead or simply “playin up”. I’m not an angel, so if someone tries put me on some pedestal, feel free to smack them and tell them it’s from me.
But there is a lot more to me than those who are close friends of mine would not associate with me. This is a way, not to change your perception but allow you to see there is so much more to me than the rugby player. If you still think I’m just another deadbeat footy player, then I’m ok with that, I sure as hell won’t lose any sleep. I just want you to be aware that there are more strings to this bow than first appear and this book maybe a bit more interesting than the raggedy, torn, smashed up cover suggests.
I hope that this blog will be a platform to help break stigmas too. Talking about the transition phase to a lot of past professional players, everyone I talk to says that you should be open and talk about it. They have all said it makes a huge difference, simply getting it off your chest. Although this is a more public platform, even writing the last blog helped me to do that. I hadn’t told everyone the situation found myself in, so that was a good way to do that. It is hugely important to me that we break stereotypes and stigmas. I hope to be a leader and make other pro athletes, particularly rugby players, and blokes in general aware it is ok to be open and honest and that it can be tough, there is no shame in admitting that.
I think this will be an interest to a lot of people who aren’t rugby players too. It will give an insight into the transition period, as well as what the life of a rugby player was really like and my perspective and opinions on things related to that. There aren’t too many people that go through a transition phase quite like that of a professional team sport athlete. The closest I can think of would be someone leaving the military and leaving ‘the boys’.
I know a few people were expecting it to be just about the stay at home dad life, but I don’t know that there’s that much to write about that I can write solely write about that. And I don’t want to.
I’ll write about that obviously, as I do think it’s very important that there’s a voice for that. I will also talk about what’s going on in my life, the transition and how I’m handling that, business topics- as that’s a genuine interest of mine, rugby- because I know can express my thoughts and opinions openly without fear of a media manager sending me text saying “hey mate, about that post…”, plus some gold conversations with the old man.
If you did read the first post and liked it, I would love to hear WHY you enjoyed it so much. I particularly want to hear from stay at home mums, stay at home dads and dads that are at work and what they enjoyed about it most, and things they would like to read about.
How long will I keep this blog going? Who knows.
I generally bore of things quite easily and quickly. It’s quite time consuming writing a blog in this length. I generally write it all down, go over it again and put the pieces together and in order, before one last time checking to see what I may have left out, what needs cutting, spelling, little bit of grammar and just making sure it’s easily readable.
The only ‘downside’ from the first blog has possibly been the expectation that has come with it. There’s a pressure to make each new blog better and more interesting than the last one. That may be something that doesn’t sit comfortably with me… Expectation can be dangerous, especially when it comes from within…