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April 16, 2023

Heroes working to save local club at a time

Heroes working to save local club at a time

Good morning everyone,

In my most recent blog post, I shared my thoughts on why I believe NFL fans would absolutely love the AFL.  If you've not had the chance to check out that piece, here's a link.  

I've done around 200 interviews during the first 40 months of the podcast. Each and everyone of them has been unique, and has broadened my interest in the game.  I've had the great fortune to talk with people at the highest level of the game, from club presidents, to standout players to players who had just been drafted to their club (and I managed to get them into a bit of trouble for that). 

I've also had the chance to talk with dozens and dozens other podcasters and fans of the game.  Many of these discussions have led to friendships with people who, while I've not met them in person, I consider them friends, and I truly hope they might feel the same way.  Several of them, I talk with on an almost daily basis, and as I have said many times on the podcast, I talk with more people in Australia than I do on my own street.  

I've absolutely loved sharing those stories with my listeners.  While I enjoy talking about the "nuts and bolts" of the game, and who is playing well, and who I think is struggling, I won't pretend to have mastery of all of that information.  I love telling the stories of people.  Why they love the game.  Their memories of the game.  There hopes for the future of the game, along with exploring aspects of their lives that many other footy podcasts don't dig into very often.  

That being said, looking back at the over history of the podcast, while this is in no way a slight of any of my other guests, there is one interview of which I'm most proud. 

Way back in May of 2020, I was less than two dozen episodes into my podcast's journey.  While I'm still a small (but growing slowly) fish in a big pond of footy podcasts, I was little more than plankton at that time.  I reached out to someone that, to be honest, I thought would kindly decline to sit down for an interview.  I had reached out to Mr. Ricky Nixon.  He reluctantly agreed to sit down to talk for half an hour, and I remember that we wrapped up that conversation after 29 minutes.  When our chat finished, he shared very kind words with me about the approach to the interview.  It was that moment in which I really felt that I had a place in the footy podcast community.  I cannot thank him enough for the supportive words.  It is something that he may have forgotten, but it is something I think about every time I begin work on a new episode.    

That being said, I want to take a moment to share something that some of you may be aware of, but others may not.  At the outset of this 2023 footy season, Ricky Nixon and Brownlow Medalists are out there working hard to give a much needed "shot in the arm" to local footy clubs throughout Australia.  Many of my interviews have been with people involved with local footy, and COVID-19 did, in many cases, irreparable harm to local footy clubs, with many of them not able to fill their lists.  These two gentleman are traveling throughout Australia, with Mr. Swan suiting up for different clubs each weekend, while also holding festivities to help bolster interest (and the financial wellbeing) of different local footy clubs.  

This past weekend, these two gentlemen were in SA, visiting the Nangwarry Saints.  The Saints were the subject of episode 184 of the podcast, having gone through unbelievable hardships.  While they were there this past weekend, Mr. Nixon arranged for one of Mr. Swan's biggest fans, Robbie Hallam to meet his favorite player.  These types of selfless actions are one of the reasons why I absolutely love this game, and everyone (OK...almost everyone.  Whoever pulled the trigger on hiring Michael Voss on the Thursday before the Grand Final getting me bumped from an appearance on "The Sporting Capital", rather than waiting until the Monday AFTER the Grand Final is STILL on my list.)

Mr. Nixon has also recently begun his own podcast, "The Chicken Coop" with Ricky Nixon and Tony Marks.  If you haven't checked it out, I encourage you to give it a listen.  

While it is not conducive from a time standpoint for me to reach out to every guest I've had on the podcast previously, I do want to take this opportunity to thank them publicly; with a special thank you to Mr. Nixon for helping me to realize that I had a small spot in this "marketplace".  Thanks so much sir.  It may have been a small thing you did, but it was absolutely huge in my eyes. 

Also....thanks for all that you and Mr. Swan are doing to help out terrific local footy clubs. 

This week, they'll be in Mildura, where Mr. Swan will be donning the brown and yellow for the Gol Gol Hawks as they take on Bambill.  A bit hat tip of respect to both of you. 


Craig Wessels

A Yank on the Footy Podcast