Black eyes in 2010
Well after four years in the AFL and 26 AFL games with two different clubs, "Jeremy" was delisted and returned to play at his junior club this year. The football season has just ended for this club with a loss in the preliminary final.
While it has been an enjoyable year for him, not having the pressure of playing at the elite level and playing with childhood mates, it has also been difficult. He has had more black eyes in this one season than ever before. He has definitely had a huge target on his back because of his status as an AFL player. I was niave to think there would be more goodwill than there appears to be.
He has never been a player who retaliates at all. So despite receiving numerous whacks behind play or sneakily while in play, he just gets on with the game. Not even trying to even it up with the offender later in the game or even afterwards. He has integrity.
The final was no different, and another older ex-AFL player punched him in the face after play. So the ball had gone, and without any provocation from Jeremy, out of nowhere this old dude punches him, then shortly afterwards another team member of Jeremy's. Jeremy did turn around and push his shoulders and say afew words to him. But that was the extent of his reaction.
I have been disappointed watching the standard of play after so many years watching Jeremy playing at a higher level of teamwork. And the umpiring is poor too. I know not many people want to umpire these games and so they take what they can get. But I just wish there was a better duty of care towards people. As the mother of a footballer I hate seeing people punched in the head. I hate seeing Jeremy with black eyes. I'd hate to see Jeremy inflict that injury on others. He doesn't do it and has never needed to. The game is far superior without it I think.
His AFL mates often come along to watch him play in local footy which is a real credit to the bonds he continues to build easily with others.
Offers have come for him to play elsewhere next season, but he is at a point where he wants to settle a little I think. He has a job he loves and football no longer dominates his existence. He has had so many fantastic experiences playing at the elite level of AFL football that he would never have had otherwise.
And for an update about Jeremy's brother Mathew - who was mentioned back in post number 17 Bros - he has finally completed his Bachelor of Engineering with honours and has found a job in the Engineering industry. Our daughter is married and when not working as a teacher's aide she writes. So for John and I our parenting duties are finished - sad to say.