I try my hardest nowadays just to be present in every moment – whether that be at the footy club, at home, or just in life – and appreciate every moment. We’re all challenged in different ways, and it’s just about learning from the ones that are hard and then enjoying the ones that are really good.
I’m very lucky that I’ve got an amazing wife who has supported me through thick and thin.
Even to the point where she ended up on the front page of the paper defending me. It isn’t where she wanted to be, but obviously showed the strength of her support and what she was willing to do for me.
Initially, it made me angry. She was heavily pregnant, and a reporter contacted her without any permission. I was pretty disappointed and irritated with the world, but also really proud that she’d gone in to bat for me so strongly.
I think that, typically, a man’s only as strong as his better half, and she’s taught me a lot through our journey together.
First time I saw Dad cry
I’ll be forever grateful for the values that my mum Kath and dad Peter taught me.
I always saw Dad working really hard, but he’d also make himself as available for myself and my sisters as often as possible. He always tried to coach or be as involved in our sport as much as he possibly could and travelled to every training camp or interstate competition that I had.
They tried to provide the absolute best life for us, whether that be our caravan up in Echuca or Moama, which is now where they live, to the home environment.
Dad’s cut his fingers off a couple of times, working on the farm. The first time it happened I was about 10 and I have clear memories of the disappointment he had in himself because he felt like he’d let the family down.
He was a cabinet maker, so most of his work relied on his hands. To be out of action from that weighed on him.
I feel the greatest fear for men is not looking, or being, strong enough, in the eyes of those they love. I think it was the first time I’d seen my dad cry.
Grateful for the lessons I’ve learned
Leadership is a unique beast. There are many forms of it, and that’s what we encourage at the footy club.
You can be the youngest player on the list and just own something. It could be the energy in the change room, it could be picking up the rubbish after someone’s had taping done. It’s about finding your niche, finding your moment, and performing to your strengths.
I don’t think the ultimate leader exists in our world today – just a lot of very good ones who show strengths in different areas. And it takes the mentorship and help of others to build leaders.
My strength is having empathy for people. If you can hear and understand a person’s story or their challenges, and you are motivated to help them, you are a leader.
I’ve been very lucky because I’ve come across some wonderful people.
Whether that’s the team manager from my school team that I’m still great friends with now, to Damien Hardwick who is like a father figure to all of our players. They’re all tremendous people, and I’m very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from everyone that I’ve crossed paths with.
When I had my issues in 2016 that was probably Dimma’s lowest point as a senior coach, and maybe even in his entire football career, so it was nice to share that journey of growth together.
People called for his head as a senior coach. He’s been open to learning about himself and, therefore, teaching others as well, which has been incredible to watch and experience.
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