The 2018 Pre-season camp with the Rabbitohs was a wonderful reminder that our athletes are passionate, respectful and attentive. A credit to the individuals themselves and the people who have raised and supported them.
In elite sport it doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, or whether you play an individual or team sport, you don't get to be successful on your own. Every elite athlete has a support team behind them. It may start with a parent providing an opportunity to play or being prepared to spend hours driving a child to training and to weekend competition. It may have been a teacher at school who took the time to nurture a love or passion for sport. It may have been a coach who recognised something unique or special in the athlete, it might not have been talent perhaps it was persistence, but they saw it just the same. It may have been an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, so many possibilities.
Having decided on an athletic pathway ongoing support comes from husbands and wives, partners and loved ones and a whole host of sporting professionals. Some of these may be doctors, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, psychologists, nutritionists, massage therapists, physiologists, biomechanists, spiritual advisors, managers, coaching staff and of course fans. An athlete may feel the only way they can say thank-you for the support given to them is through winning, but when everyone else's happiness rides on those outcomes it can sit as a burden on their shoulders.
Let's help the elite athlete on their journey, by doing so with compassion. Manage our own expectations. As supporters all we should seek in return for our support is they dedicate themselves to the challenge, the outcome will be whatever it can be when the process is executed well. Winning or losing is not necessarily the best measure of that.