The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – A Message of Appreciation

Last week was a lot of fun.

Of course we were able to enjoy our Eels winning. And how sweet it is when it comes against the Bulldogs.

Even better, this victory provided us with renewed hope that the Wooden Spoon might find a home that isn’t located out at Parramatta.

And plenty of you might be able to relate to this – there was some respite from those office jibes about the Eels for a week.

Jarryd & Browny with a happy junior member.

But, as a parent, my greatest fun and joy came before Thursday – and it did not come from watching the game in the stands. It came from watching my son Jack’s beaming smile from the tremendous fun he had interacting with his footy heroes at the Parramatta Eels junior members clinic.

Yes, it meant two long trips to Sydney in a week but it was absolutely worth it.  And judging from the roll up, and the smiles on the faces of the children, parents and players, a host of others felt the same way too. It was a massive roll up.

You see my son Jack does not care or yell if Clint Gutherson drops a ball or Nathan Brown misses a tackle.

He does not care if Mitchel Moses kicks a midfield bomb or if Taka darts out of the line.

He simply cares that they play for Parra and he loves his team, so he loves and supports all of the players.

The always popular Gutho

All he has spoken about since the junior members clinic was how to properly catch and kick. He proceeded to tell his footy coach on Saturday morning that they need to do some things different at training because of what he learnt.

My son already loves his team but he has never attended a members clinic before. I was a little hesitant sending him as he idolises these players and I didn’t want him disappointed, not that I should have worried. The players should feel proud of the way they interacted with the children. In fact, it was difficult to tell who was having the most fun.

So my words this week are simple and spoken from a parents perspective: to our players and staff thank you. It has been a hard year and at times my son has been disappointed but not last week.

My son left the Parramatta Eels junior members day having had fun. He learnt some new skills and was thoroughly overjoyed that he got to speak to, play with and be shown skills by Bevan French, Clint Gutherson and Nathan Brown even if for a few minutes.

His words sum it up best when he said, “mum that was fun, can I come back next year?”

Footy is meant to be fun. It’s a vital message about footy or indeed any sport, so those responsible for the clinic can feel proud that children like my son came away with that thought.

And that Eels victory on Thursday night? More smiles and definitely the icing on the cake for my family.

Shelley

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Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, thanks heaps for sharing that. It shows, or tells me despite so much bad publicity that our players cop especially in seasons like this, they are never hesitant in putting in for the various outreach days for so many places, and for those doing it tough, such as at the Children’s hospital and other visitation areas. Having the players willing to sit down with kids and their families is value plus for me, congratulations all the eels players and staff who were involved in this day. Done good, now all that’s needed is to Done good for what remains… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Thanks for the read Shelley; a simple but profound message. It does put a bit of the yr into perspective for our younger fans. I hope the players see your post……as they are playing for not only themselves etc. but the younger fans who we hope can become tomorrow’s juniors.

Shelley
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Shelley

If you support a club long enough you will have good and bad years but kids meeting and interacting with the players they look up to and them being so nice and welcoming will last forever in my boys mind. It was heartening to see as at times this year I questioned if the players cared. I saw players who cared and went out of their way to make the day fun for the kids. They were a credit to the club last week

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Wholeheartedly agree Shelley and a wonderfully true post. I have followed the eels now since being a kid, my dad a foundation member, went through more bad years from the 50’s onwards than good ones, but to me being taken into the dressing sheds, by hand with my dad, and later mixing with some great players sticks with me. Those years have gone too fast, being at the SCG to watch our first premiership, joy mixed with sorrow as my dad never lived long enough to see it. To me, the start and finish of being a supporter is to… Read more »