I’ve dedicated so many posts to my kids.
I’ve dedicated so many posts to myself.
I’ve dedicated so many posts to our lives, as a family.
But I’ve never dedicated a post to my husband. A post only to him.
So this one’s for you, my Z.
Today you made a tough decision to take an indefinite break from Professional Football. What that means, I don’t know. Have you quit? Maybe. Maybe the word retire was just too scary. Maybe you can’t say goodbye. Maybe we can’t say goodbye.
Not properly, anyway. Yet.
You’ve been a footballer since I met you, when we were 19. That’s all I’ve known you do. I’ve watched you decline so many invitations to party because you have a game the next day. I’ve watched you stretch your legs for hours, obsess over your sleeping and eating, twiddle your thumbs all off-season, because you were just busting to play again.
I travelled with you to New Zealand, where you had your first taste of the A-League. I watched you decline a new contract to try your luck in Holland and I saw you shine in your first year – like you always do when you get given a chance. I saw you overjoyed when you got offered a new contract and I felt your European football buzz. We felt it together.
I saw you go through your first real low as a footballer that second year. We felt it together.
When we came back to Australia, we got married and moved to the Gold Coast. We had a baby and you loved football again. You were so happy. We were so happy.
I saw you win Coaches Player of the Year at Gold Coast United. I saw you win Club Champion at Adelaide United. You deserved them both.
I saw you go through periods of instability, like every footballer does.
I saw you make your fans proud, and I saw you win your critics over. Sometimes critics just stayed critics. And that’s okay, because that’s football.
And now you’ve decided you’ve had your time in the game. I won’t lie, I feel sad. Because even last year when the first half of the season was crap, you made up for it in the second half.
Because that’s what you do when you get your chance.
I love to watch you play. So much.
If only you saw me at home, 5 centimetres away from the television screen, eyes completely peeled. Looking for your long hair. Which you then shaved for cancer awareness. Because you are beautiful like that.
I will miss watching you play. So much.
But I know it’s not over for you completely in football. You can’t cut it off completely. It’s in your blood.
I’m so proud that you have made this decision, because I know it was the toughest decision you’ve ever made. But I know you crave a life after playing football – one that you can control.
And I know, like you did with football, you will give your heart – your everything – to your new chapter.
And I look so forward to sharing that new chapter with you. My love.