Imagine my disappointment when I discovered over the weekend that this – not Tigers-Lions, as I’d previously thought – would be the final Friday night game of the home-and-away season.
Watts up with Jack Watts?
The 2008 number one overall pick in the AFL draft has clearly not met the expectations placed on him when he arrived on the AFL scene. Some believe that being drafted by Melbourne which at the time was short on credibility and lacking a good culture was his ultimate downfall in his quest to become an AFL superstar.
His performances at both Melbourne and Port Adelaide have some now questioning whether he belongs in the AFL or on the scrap heap that many under-performing AFL footballers end up on. His recent exploits have highlighted his commitment and dedication to the game, although it was a legal substance, the fact that he didn’t recognise the pure idiocy of his act and the current climate we live in, it’s easy to question his position in the league.
He’s not the first and definitely won’t be the last, but as someone who played AFL growing up, the fact he is wasting his talent away is a real shame, just look at his draft class: Chris Yarran is no longer in the league, dispatched because of off-field issues and Jack could suffer a similar fate.
Now I believe in second chances, but I’ve always wondered wouldn’t it be a valuable experience for players to work as bricklayer, plumber, carpenter and so on, working physical jobs for long hours to achieve a fraction of what an AFL player of Jack’s standing would earn.
I realise that it isn’t feasible with the hours they spend training, recovering and attending school clinics, but I believe wholeheartedly that players would appreciate the lifestyle associated with being a professional AFL player or sportsman has. Now the scrutiny and pressures of playing a professional sport, especially nowadays, is extreme but the pressures of raising a family and making ends meet also seem comparable.
I dreamed from a young age to play AFL not because of the money, but because of the love of the sport. Sure the money would be nice, but how fortunate would it be to each day go to work doing something you love? Safe to say not many of us are lucky enough to experience this feeling.
I could also rant on about Bernard Tomic, Ben Barba and others but the simple fact remains – if someone told you could earn $250,000 a year doing something you love, and in return all you have to do is act like a responsible adult, stay out of trouble and not be on the front pages of the paper, I’m sure most of us would accept those reasonable terms.
Sports leagues mirror society and there’s always going to be a select few who cannot meet the expectations required, but to Jack or whoever is next, seriously, Watts are you doing?