As far as Australian sport goes, this week is a blockbuster with both the NRL and AFL grand finals taking place, and in the week leading up to these events are a cavalcade of stories of the men that will try and win the respective premierships for their club.
On the AFL’s night of nights, 24-year-old Nat Fyfe won the coveted Brownlow Medal, proving what an outstanding young player he is and earmarking him as a future leader of his team, the Fremantle Dockers.
While Fyfe puts the proof in the pudding of youth achieving high goals, it is an older more experienced player of the ‘other’ code, which exemplifies the message that Wings Around the World (WATW) is sharing about achieving success even in the face of adversity.
Too small and too slow to be a first grade player – that was the verdict on North Queensland Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston in the early 2000’s when he was trying to make a name for himself as a rugby league player.
While there will be an overload of articles praising Thurston this week, it’s important to look past his four Dally M medals, multiple State Of Origin wins and game winning plays for Australia, to note that his greatest legacy may well be that he overcome one of the toughest adversities to now be teetering on rugby league immortality, he reversed the doubt others had in him.
Lack of speed and size were both elements within Thurston’s control. But what he couldn’t control is the doubt that almost everyone in the game had about his ability in the early days of his career. History shows that the Cowboys pulled off one of the best recruiting decisions in their 20-year history and threw a chance to a relatively unknown Thurston, helping him overcome adversity and become one of the most successful players in the history of the game.
It is stories like this that cement the importance of chasing your dreams.
For Lachlan Smart WATW is a huge task. While he has self-belief and a strong team behind him, there will be those that doubt that he can break the world record to become the youngest person in history to circumnavigate the globe solo, in a single engine aircraft. But importantly, there will be people that do believe in the journey, people that will support WATW like the Cowboys supported Thurston.
In a week where Australia awaits the result and the crowning of the champions of our two biggest football codes, remember that every person involved in this weekend’s activities has a story, they have proved that adversity does not limit the level at which success is achieved.
While it’s expected that Sunday’s NRL grand final will be a close contest between two fierce Queensland rivals, the team at WATW quietly hopes that Thurston can help the Cowboys to a maiden title, and continue the narrative of young Australian’s achieving extraordinary feats, even when the odds are against them.