Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Ghost farewells Ratts.

Sadness is the first response. No matter what the head thinks, the heart is heavy. I remember all those years ago listening on the radio as a kid made his debut. We weren’t a great team then, we were building and this kid was another block in the foundation: A kid with heart.

I remember it was a week or two later I saw him play. Didn’t look much but he got the ball. Then I watched him develop and while others were hailed as champions this kid just kept getting the ball.

Something about the way he played spoke to that little kid in me. All I ever did was go after the ball. If I had have been a footballer and lived the dream of playing for the old dark navies, I would have been happy to play like Ratts: Tough as nails, uncompromising, brave.

And as he kept playing I started to notice his skills. The way he read the play, the delivery by hand or foot. There was more to this kid than I thought. I guess there is more to each of us than anyone thinks, that’s what is so great about sport – it reminds us that none of us are just the sum of our parts, that we can be so much more.

So then he came back and coached the team. He got to live out two dreams - To play and to coach this great club of ours. No matter what happens I hope he remembers that.

So Ratts is gone as coach but that kid still lives in my memory, still wearing the number 7, getting the ball, time after time. Always in the heat of it, thriving in the congestion.

Rats is gone but we should remember that just like that kid, as a coach he was always prepared to give it a go. I was never his biggest fan, but he is a Carlton man through and through, a club champion, a premiership player and now an ex coach of this famous club, and as the song says, they can’t take that away from him.

We should also remember that it is important people try, that people have a go. Ratts had a go – that makes him a success at the things that really matter. At sticking your hand up, at wearing the heat, having passion, testing yourself and taking the whack. He did so today, he took the whack, and he took it with dignity. He is ever the Carlton champion.

Thanks Ratts, thanks for everything and good luck.

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