IN the cut and thrust of professional sport, it’s so easy to lose perspective. Sometimes though, something comes along that gives you a massive dose of it.
That’s been a huge lesson this week, for me personally and for our group.
After our loss to Melbourne last week I was absolutely filthy. I spoke emotionally afterwards and make no apologies for that. It was a crucial game for us and we let it slip.
On the way back to the dressing rooms I was still pissed off. Once I got there I copped a pretty big reality check.
On Saturday, we had a young man named Jayden Maloney sit on the bench with us. He’s 16 years old and he came all the way from Wagga Wagga with his family to have that experience.
It’s a rare one for him because he’s been battling bone cancer. He’s only 16 and in the past year he’s had to have a knee replacement and undergo chemotherapy.
I introduced him to Chris Goulding before the game and he met all our players. He sat on the bench with us and we treated him like part of the team for the day.
For us, it was a forgettable night. For Jayden and his family, it’s one they’ll never forget. It’s something that makes you realise what sport, and life, is really about.
That loss may end up costing us a playoffs spot. I know that and the guys know that. It’s the bed we’ve made for ourselves.
We’ve debriefed that rigorously. It’s our job, but we got valuable lesson about more than basketball.
It’s so easy to become totally consumed in your sport. People don’t see the 50-60 hours a week you put in away from the bright lights and away from your family.
Don’t get me wrong, we are all so fortunate to be able to make a living in the game we love. But sometimes you’re reminded of the sacrifices our families make for us to do what we do.
My family have certainly made plenty, whether I’ve been away overseas or in my early time in Wollongong when they were still in Perth.
We had our day off this week, and that rarely means what it sounds like. I’ve spent may of these’days off’ pouring over video, offensive sets, defensive schemes and everything else.
This week, I went to the movies with my 12-year-old son Noah. A lot of our guys have young families at home and I told them to go away and do the same thing.
We have an uphill battle ahead of us to make the playoffs. If we can win seven of our last 10 we can get there.
We’re two wins behind Adelaide and we have two games against them in the next fortnight. We’ve also got four really tough games against New Zealand.
We have the ability and the self-belief to do it. I have faith that we can… but we know there are plenty of people out there fighting much tougher battles than us.