11 March 2011, Collingwood season launch, Melbourne, Australia
Thank you. I apologise because I should be still here now. But something happened, I fell over my shoelaces.
I’ll tell you a story. It’s not doom and gloom, because we’ve got a great side coming on.
I was at Caulfield Rehabilitation Centre standing on a rocker board. A rocker board--- trying to get the paralysis out of the right side of my body. I was standing there, six foot one, strapping, fit guy, looking terrific. Except I had a problem. I could hardly move it.
Little boy in a wheelchair over in the corner. Little boy – don’t know what happened to him, he was about 14 or 15 I think, the only way he could move was with his little crippled hand, push a stick. He could go forward, to his right, or back.
Only way he could get to have a meal, they'd feed him.
Only way he’d get to go to bed, they’d pick him up and put him in his bed, his mum and dad, or in this case, like I was, he was an inpatient, it was the nurses .
One day I was standing on the rocker board, getting this problem, out, and this little boy, he gets his little hand, he pushes over, and stood there. I looked over the railing. He said to me, ‘what - are - you - doing - here?’
About twelve or fourteen months later I made a comeback. I made it because I wanted to prove something. I just wanted to prove something. And sure it was a waste of a life and so forth ... but look we've had a terrific ...
We’ve got the guys coming on this year, they're going places, give them the support, they can play in safety now, they can play and earn an income for their families, and their children, I don’t know how young they are.
When I got off that plane I was fifteen. I said I was going to be the best. I wanted to be the best and that’s how life evolved.
But like that little boy in the wheelchair, I never had a problem. This kid wouldn’t get out of his chair.
And when you wake up in the morning, and start grizzling, ‘oh it’s bloody cold and miserable’ you haven’t got a problem. Lift your spirits up, and support all our players, give them the best, give them everything on and off the field, because we are the best, and this is Collingwood, and I still get letters from Collingwood people. I love Collingwood, and I will go to heaven, or wherever may be, loving Collingwood.
Thank you, and have a great night.