The first 13 years of my ultimate career were a bit of a dream run. A number of factors gave me the chance to appear on representative teams for my state and country. I was on University Green and Gold teams, the Dingoes, and was selected to the demo games that have been held at Halibuts, Nationals and Melbourne Hats.
The last 12 months have been a turn-around – I have regularly joined the ranks of the unselected and benched.
Despite being a perspective that hasn't changed my opinions on selection events, methods and selectors, it has given me experience with emotions and thoughts of being on the outside, looking in. Indeed, I regularly considered that perspective when writing the AFDA Rep teams policy and Selectors Manual for the AFDA recently (useful for any team!).
The current example is that I am here in Colombia playing with a club team, Comunidad de Oso. I am a big unknown for Colombian players – overseas pickups are rare here, in comparison, to say Australia, where almost every university and club team has a recently arrived North American player.
Adding to the mix is that in games, every line is called. This a change from the self-managed playing time systems that I have usually experienced. In the past, those times when there have been lines called, it has been me calling them most of the time, as a captain or a coach, so when I do go to the bench, I have at least consulted myself!
So a few poor points in one training and one game have seen me down at the far end of the bench. I have aimed to take constructive steps: get a clear picture from the leadership of their thoughts, dump my frustration on friendly ears who will listen, be present if needed on-field, get some sideline Ds with talking, and get ready and in the right mindset for the next opportunity to show my game.
Let's see how the situation pans out from here...