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You wearily open your tired eyes and gaze around the dirty clothes and empty bottles that cover your bedroom floor. You can?t even remember what colour your carpet is, or when the last time you saw it was.
You shake your head and stumble into the bathroom, trying to keep your balance while dodging the slain lager bottles on the floor. It?s a clear path to the try line that is known as your mirror, there is nothing stopping you now. Or is there? It isn?t a defending player, and it certainly isn?t ?that mistake? you brought home from the pub last night. It is you. Yes, you. There is no one else holding you back but yourself.
Take a look at yourself, what do you see? A forlorn figure of what you once were? Or just a scared child that is desperately seeking attention and love? When was the last time you had a shave? That piece of steak has been between your teeth for the past two days.
You drag your sorry self to your wardrobe and try to change who you are. Why do you bother? Different clothes aren?t going to make you a better player. Let me guess, you?re just trying to hide from the taunts and comments of everyone who sees you. Toughen up. You?re a professional sportsman. Grow some testicles and learn to live with it rather than trying to hide your cheap personality behind a bunch of expensive shirts and jackets. You always wear that same jacket over your club shirt. Why do you insist on hiding your identity? Anyone would think you play AFL.
You reluctantly push open the creaky gate at training, and here is where you belong. You see a well oiled machine working as a team, running majestically across the lush green field. And there you are? the kink in the chain, the broken cog, the rusty nail. You?re the black sheep of the family. Everyone is looking at how you don?t fit in, and you let them win by giving in to the pain. You can withstand eighty minutes of being run over by men that should have license plates attached to them, but you cannot withstand the pain of a few comments and taunts by frustrated fans. Go and play AFL sissy boy, get out of a real mans sport.
Look around you, and what do you see? What do these guys have that you don?t have? Is it charisma? Is it good looks? Is it talent? You have the talent, we all know that. You showed the nation your talent this year, impressing every rugby league supporter. You were dubbed the next big thing. Now you?re no longer impressing, you?re mystifying crowds by how you?ve fallen from grace in such a short period time. But the question is why? Why do players like you all of a sudden go from hero to zero? rooster to chicken? Sonny Bill Williams to Braith Anasta?
There is no doubt about it my boy; you?re in a slump. You don?t have the confidence to be the best. You?re not determined to win; you?re scared of failing. You can feel it in your heart whenever you run up the ball. You want to throw the spectacular pass you have thrown so many times before, but that little voice in your head asks ?But what if I miss?? Maybe it is time for you to hang up the boots and move on. You?ve thought about it many times, but you know that it is the easy way out. A great sportsman is not judged by his talent, it is judged by his ability to overcome adversity and be the best there ever was. You realise that this is your opportunity to do this. This can only strengthen your career, not end it.
You look over at the fans watching your training session, and see a little boy covered in merchandise. He looks at you and smiles, and waves frantically. You think he is waving to the player behind you, but he wants you. You walk over hesitantly; the boy cannot hide his excitement. After what felt like two hours of talking and signatures, you feel different. Not physically, nor mentally. The difference you feel is passion, and it is oozing out of every crevice in your body and soul. You?re ready to be the best again.