Two small reflections on Jimmy’s footy life…
Courage and tenacity are the key to unlocking greatness. To firstly stick with it until he got a game, and then to rise above early adversity to win a brownlow is just remarkable. The photo is of John Northey, the coach, cursing Jim after the 1987 Prelim Final where he had just cost his team a place in the Grand Final with an innocent, but silly mistake. 99 people out of 100 would find their head dropped like Jimmy’s for good. Probably catch a plane back home… But Jim stuck with it.
He turned up to pre-season, fronted up to the disappointed fans, put up with the sledging, and went on to play 264 games.
Anyone who can play 244 consecutive games of AFL footy is probably not a whiner like me… I can’t even go to work for 244 consecutive workdays without having at least one sickie. Resilience like this is to be admired. I will try and remember this next time I need to pick myself up.
Nothing worthwhile in life comes easily. Discipline, combined with tenacity and courage are critical. Malcolm Gladwell proposes 10,000 hours as the time it takes to become extremely proficient at anything. To reach 10,000 hours means you have to stick with something, right through the highs and lows. Australian Idol is riddled with misguided kids who think all you need is a dream to be successful. Yeah, you need a dream, and you can get a genetic “leg up” – but in the end it comes down to practice… Combine the dream with the hard work and it will materialise.
His presidency of the Melbourne Footy Club is a great example of actually doing something to fix a situation rather than just “liking” something on Facebook, or going to an “awareness” concert. Jim accepted that if he wanted something to be done, he had to roll up his sleeves and do it. He was a popular enough figure to just pop up on a TV ad for MFC, or on Facebook, but he did not. He stuck out his neck, and sacrificed his time for what he thought was important. He didn’t ask or demand that someone else do something to fix it – he took personal responsibility and made something happen.
Jim was the antithesis of Facebook Activism – accurately defined (surprisingly!) by urbandictionary.com as “The illusion of dedication to a cause through no-commitment awareness groups. Specifically in reference to Facebook groups centered around political issues.” People are disconnecting from their civic duty through feeling like they have done something by joining a group or forwarding a link.
People should take their lead more from Jim Stynes’ example vs. things like “Make Poverty History”… Awareness without action is useless. Even a donation is better than a click.
These are the two things I have learnt from Jim Stynes’ life.