NRL rookie camp - a game plan for life - December 2010

Mark Spring December 20, 2010 : 0

I recently presented to a bunch of up and coming rugby league players at the annual NRL ‘Rookie Camp’. The Rookie Camp aims to give a few life lessons to Junior Warriors as they embark on a hopefully long and successful career in professional sport. dtr starts as new sponsors of the Junior Warriors this coming season and I was asked to briefly share with the guys some of the life lessons that would have made a difference to me at their age.

Upon arrival, I was struck with the memories of when I joined the army 23 years ago. I was a bag of mixed emotions: nervous butterflies, anticipation, excitement, promise and pressure. Like the Rookies, I thought I was invincible and that I knew everything already. On reflection, these are probably necessary characteristics to enter into a career like professional footy.  In some ways, I wished the same life skills training was available to me when I was their age. That said, it doesn’t mean I would have paid attention to it!

What interested me was the diverse mix of backgrounds amongst the players and the wide geographic spread of their home towns, many of which were very small country towns across both Australia and NZ.  Many are heavily guided by religion and family, which will hopefully help them fend off some of life’s more dangerous temptations in the years to come.

Overall, I was very impressed with the attitudes and untapped potential of this outstanding group of young men. They are still untarnished by the looming pressures of professional sporting performance, the financial pressures of adult life, future parenthood and the over-arching element of having to do this in the glare of the media spotlight. Us mere mortals have the freedom to make mistakes in relative privacy, but that is part of the package of success and comes with all the fun stuff.

As a rookie sponsor for the coming season, I’m sure we will ourselves continue to learn about the importance of making a positive impression, fitting in and being part of a much larger team. We are tremendously excited by that and look forward to a great campaign all round.


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