The Honour of Playing on ANZAC Day

Friday, April 17, 2015

By Xavier Clarke, Head Coach of NT Thunder

The honour of playing on ANZAC day is something you donít get to do very often. To honour the men and women who served our country through a game so many love is a unique and special experience. 

Football teaches our boys many life lessons, such as time management, hard work, discipline, disappointment, achievement, mateship, teamwork, trust and honesty. All shaping who we are as people, athletes and teammates. I call it your personal brand. 

Thinking about the ANZAC values there are some clear comparisons to the values of our own football team and the playerís personal brand. Please donít think for a moment I am comparing going to war with playing football as being the same thing, however courage, sacrifice, mateship and compassion are all values that I see in my players both on and off the field. 

As we all live our own lives outside of this football club, players and staff will be driven by their own personal values and beliefs shaped through their families and friends. I feel these are the most important. We have values and behaviors at our club which players are expected to buy into and thatís how you build good culture within a team environment, but overall, football is a small part in the whole scheme of things. 

If we look at the sacrifice the ANZACs made for this country, itís a tough realization that at the end of the game our players get to go home to their families and friends, for so many of the service men and women that we will honour tonight, that never eventuated. 

On ANZAC Day, we get to honour these men and women in a small way who have paved the way in teaching and helping us develop the core values and behaviors that not only drive us on the sporting fields but more importantly in life.

ĎLest we forgetí. 

Xavier Clarke is Head Coach at NT Thunder Football Club in the NEAFL. 

This article was submitted as part of the requirement for AFL High Performance Coach accreditation. It was written in the lead up to the NT Thunder's ANZAC Day match in 2014.

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