Player Watch #27 - Harley Balic - Retired

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djpaulydemon

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Oct 19, 2013
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You don't have to dislike a situation a heap to walk away from a $50k job. Turning his back on that much money (and a childhood dream) is probably a good indicator of how much he hates what he does. For the amount of time we spend at work, life is too short to stay there if it makes life miserable. Hopefully he can find a life that makes him happy and fulfilled.
Couldn't agree any more. I could go to the mines or hold a stop sign at a construction site and make 4 times the amount of money that i earn. But i love the industry i'm in and feel i have a purpose.

You can find meaning in any job, it just has to suit you. And leaving a profession that is so heavily scruitinesed, yet essentially pointless, for anything with less responsibility, seems like a good idea for someone with anxiety issues.
 

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Tulip

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Lyon, Frawley, Fasolo, Bloke, Boyd, Clark, Lumumba, Balic, Schache, Hird, Thompson etc etc etc.
It seems unfair on Fasolo, Boyd, Cloke, Schache, Heath Grundy now to suggest they're being illegitimate. I reckon they're pretty brave for admitting they've needed to take time out of the game to get themselves right. Lumumba I don't know, but he was never all there. Clark f’ed us over, but he barely lasted at the Cats and seems to have had some horrible issues. Hird genuinely tried to take his own life. Frawley was very open about his issues which was great, but its a shame he saw fit to call out our players' characters for not wanting to do the camp in light of his admission. Lyon and Thompson were clearly both suffering - but there was also definitely an element of getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar and making an excuse.
 

Topkent

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It seems unfair on Fasolo, Boyd, Cloke, Schache, Heath Grundy now to suggest they're being illegitimate. I reckon they're pretty brave for admitting they've needed to take time out of the game to get themselves right. Lumumba I don't know, but he was never all there. Clark ****** us over, but he barely lasted at the Cats and seems to have had some horrible issues. Hird genuinely tried to take his own life. Frawley was very open about his issues which was great, but its a shame he saw fit to call out our players' characters for not wanting to do the camp in light of his admission. Lyon and Thompson were clearly both suffering - but there was also definitely an element of getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar and making an excuse.

Each and everyone may have had issues, as I said the cynic in me says that some people will take advantage of it because as soon as you mention it it's a free pass to avoid any critisicm.

For instance I don't have a whole heap of sympathy for Hird as it really does seem like he brought it all on himself and with some humility and maybe empathy for others he could have avoided it instead of searching for sympathy.
 

Grimesy87

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Have fun in the real world kid.
Its comments like this that just show how out of touch some people are.

I dont know the like personally, but I have other friends on afl lists currently. The first 18 months all they basically do is train, play and sleep. Training can consist of physical, gym, diet, rehabilitation, social media, public, game plan and "role" training.

Then, if they start to consistently play afl, and let's say by then they have locked in an extension to be on 180-250k per year,comes the real fun. Exposure to media scrutiny, public opinion, the daily training from late October to start of september- least of all if there is finals. Sports scientists evaluating everything from your sleeping patterns, to your family situations, alcohol consumption, how your GPS lines up at training as well as on your "off season", coaches meetings for game plan, fine tuning skills. Keeping in mind this is the end of season 2, where your school mates are at university getting blind drunk sending you snap chats of them drunk in a club on a Wednesday night, or travelling overseas, meanwhile you have a 8am gym session, followed by 10am meeting with the defensive coordinator, a light training session at 1.30pm and then you're attending the local high school to do a clinic with children there to help the clubs "brand".

And after all that, when you're finished your day at 4.30, that tired and worn out from meetings, kids and a decent day of training for a "light session", your mates invite you to come out for dinner but you say no, knowing tomorrow morning you fly out to Perth for a game the next day.

And then after all that, you get people that sit at their desk, or on their phones, who couldnt kick a football without ripping a hamstring or hurting their back and complaining for 3 days to anyone who will listen, take pot shots at them because they are jealous their own life has become a mundane slog of 9-5 irrelevancy.

Honestly, I'm sure there are dimwits in the greater group of people associated as "fans" who assume clubs train twice a week, have a sausage sizzle after training Thursday and then play once a week and nothing else. If it wasnt so hilarious of how much sports fans "think" they know just because certain players are on more money, it would be downright pathetic.
 

Demon 16

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Its comments like this that just show how out of touch some people are.

I dont know the like personally, but I have other friends on afl lists currently. The first 18 months all they basically do is train, play and sleep. Training can consist of physical, gym, diet, rehabilitation, social media, public, game plan and "role" training.

Then, if they start to consistently play afl, and let's say by then they have locked in an extension to be on 180-250k per year,comes the real fun. Exposure to media scrutiny, public opinion, the daily training from late October to start of september- least of all if there is finals. Sports scientists evaluating everything from your sleeping patterns, to your family situations, alcohol consumption, how your GPS lines up at training as well as on your "off season", coaches meetings for game plan, fine tuning skills. Keeping in mind this is the end of season 2, where your school mates are at university getting blind drunk sending you snap chats of them drunk in a club on a Wednesday night, or travelling overseas, meanwhile you have a 8am gym session, followed by 10am meeting with the defensive coordinator, a light training session at 1.30pm and then you're attending the local high school to do a clinic with children there to help the clubs "brand".

And after all that, when you're finished your day at 4.30, that tired and worn out from meetings, kids and a decent day of training for a "light session", your mates invite you to come out for dinner but you say no, knowing tomorrow morning you fly out to Perth for a game the next day.

And then after all that, you get people that sit at their desk, or on their phones, who couldnt kick a football without ripping a hamstring or hurting their back and complaining for 3 days to anyone who will listen, take pot shots at them because they are jealous their own life has become a mundane slog of 9-5 irrelevancy.

Honestly, I'm sure there are dimwits in the greater group of people associated as "fans" who assume clubs train twice a week, have a sausage sizzle after training Thursday and then play once a week and nothing else. If it wasnt so hilarious of how much sports fans "think" they know just because certain players are on more money, it would be downright pathetic.

Wow - nice post.

It’s not all a horrible experience though (not that I have ever played AFL).

Some opportunities and experiences that come about from playing professionally sport must be amazing.

That said, it’s certainly not for everyone and I don’t think anyone should be upset with Harley Balic for pulling out.

He will face his issues wherever he goes, but I can certainly understand him and the club agreeing to part ways if he is unable to fulfil his end of the bargain - particularly if that is causing him further stress and anxiety.
 

ptrg

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Its comments like this that just show how out of touch some people are.

I dont know the like personally, but I have other friends on afl lists currently. The first 18 months all they basically do is train, play and sleep. Training can consist of physical, gym, diet, rehabilitation, social media, public, game plan and "role" training.

Then, if they start to consistently play afl, and let's say by then they have locked in an extension to be on 180-250k per year,comes the real fun. Exposure to media scrutiny, public opinion, the daily training from late October to start of september- least of all if there is finals. Sports scientists evaluating everything from your sleeping patterns, to your family situations, alcohol consumption, how your GPS lines up at training as well as on your "off season", coaches meetings for game plan, fine tuning skills. Keeping in mind this is the end of season 2, where your school mates are at university getting blind drunk sending you snap chats of them drunk in a club on a Wednesday night, or travelling overseas, meanwhile you have a 8am gym session, followed by 10am meeting with the defensive coordinator, a light training session at 1.30pm and then you're attending the local high school to do a clinic with children there to help the clubs "brand".

And after all that, when you're finished your day at 4.30, that tired and worn out from meetings, kids and a decent day of training for a "light session", your mates invite you to come out for dinner but you say no, knowing tomorrow morning you fly out to Perth for a game the next day.

And then after all that, you get people that sit at their desk, or on their phones, who couldnt kick a football without ripping a hamstring or hurting their back and complaining for 3 days to anyone who will listen, take pot shots at them because they are jealous their own life has become a mundane slog of 9-5 irrelevancy.

Honestly, I'm sure there are dimwits in the greater group of people associated as "fans" who assume clubs train twice a week, have a sausage sizzle after training Thursday and then play once a week and nothing else. If it wasnt so hilarious of how much sports fans "think" they know just because certain players are on more money, it would be downright pathetic.

I'm supposed to be sympathetic towards that lifestyle and associated remuneration for a early 20s yo bloke?
When I say welcome to the real world, I don't just mean the low paying sh*t kicker jobs, the unemployment, the struggling to pay bills, but also the fact that everything isn't handed tingly on a silver platter, and that its entirely on you to make it.
Simply, no one gives a sh*t about your gripes in the real world like they do in professional sport.
Sorry but it's true.
 

stretcharmstrong

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 21, 2009
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Its comments like this that just show how out of touch some people are.

I dont know the like personally, but I have other friends on afl lists currently. The first 18 months all they basically do is train, play and sleep. Training can consist of physical, gym, diet, rehabilitation, social media, public, game plan and "role" training.

Then, if they start to consistently play afl, and let's say by then they have locked in an extension to be on 180-250k per year,comes the real fun. Exposure to media scrutiny, public opinion, the daily training from late October to start of september- least of all if there is finals. Sports scientists evaluating everything from your sleeping patterns, to your family situations, alcohol consumption, how your GPS lines up at training as well as on your "off season", coaches meetings for game plan, fine tuning skills. Keeping in mind this is the end of season 2, where your school mates are at university getting blind drunk sending you snap chats of them drunk in a club on a Wednesday night, or travelling overseas, meanwhile you have a 8am gym session, followed by 10am meeting with the defensive coordinator, a light training session at 1.30pm and then you're attending the local high school to do a clinic with children there to help the clubs "brand".

And after all that, when you're finished your day at 4.30, that tired and worn out from meetings, kids and a decent day of training for a "light session", your mates invite you to come out for dinner but you say no, knowing tomorrow morning you fly out to Perth for a game the next day.

And then after all that, you get people that sit at their desk, or on their phones, who couldnt kick a football without ripping a hamstring or hurting their back and complaining for 3 days to anyone who will listen, take pot shots at them because they are jealous their own life has become a mundane slog of 9-5 irrelevancy.

Honestly, I'm sure there are dimwits in the greater group of people associated as "fans" who assume clubs train twice a week, have a sausage sizzle after training Thursday and then play once a week and nothing else. If it wasnt so hilarious of how much sports fans "think" they know just because certain players are on more money, it would be downright pathetic.
Doesn’t sound too bad. Get paid great money to live your childhood dream. Get paid great money to stay fit. Get really good assistance with life, diet, health, study, etc.

Nobody is saying it isn’t really tough. And nobody is saying either that if someone is really hating it they should stick with it. Nobody here really knows the details of what’s happening, but at least the negative comments started from something based in reality (Harley’s own statement about the grind, etc.), rather than people’s assumptions about how horrible his life is and how unbearable it is to be an AFL player.

Chill out.
 

HANDSOLO

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Doesn’t sound too bad. Get paid great money to live your childhood dream. Get paid great money to stay fit. Get really good assistance with life, diet, health, study, etc.

Nobody is saying it isn’t really tough. And nobody is saying either that if someone is really hating it they should stick with it. Nobody here really knows the details of what’s happening, but at least the negative comments started from something based in reality (Harley’s own statement about the grind, etc.), rather than people’s assumptions about how horrible his life is and how unbearable it is to be an AFL player.

Chill out.

Both points are right - I reckon it would be ducking tough and the routine and scrutiny they gave would suck the fun out of it

It’s also true though that you are sheltered from a lot of sh*t people face in heir real life - often just later once they finish “studying”

At the end of the day the right set up is different for each of us - and mostnod is are just striving to get as close to that right mix as possible

Different strokes / different folks. Horses for courses etc
 

Proper Gander

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Each and everyone may have had issues, as I said the cynic in me says that some people will take advantage of it because as soon as you mention it it's a free pass to avoid any critisicm.

For instance I don't have a whole heap of sympathy for Hird as it really does seem like he brought it all on himself and with some humility and maybe empathy for others he could have avoided it instead of searching for sympathy.
But they don’t avoid criticism do they? This thread and your post kind of demonstrate this.

I get depression and anxiety periodically and it is horrible. Also, there is no way anyone in their right mind would use mental illness as a “free pass”. This stigma is in no way gone and while more people may have heard about mental illness because of promotional work by various organisations, this isn’t the same at all as it being accepted. I go out of my way to avoid anyone in my workplace knowing that I struggle with these symptoms because it’s hugely career limiting. I was on a recruitment panel once where the (undocumented) discussion about the best candidate, who had acted in the actual position for more than a year and performed exceptionally, was whether maybe she shouldn’t be selected because she had taken 2 weeks stress leave 12 months earlier, so maybe get someone “better up to it”. Typically the campaigners suggesting this were trying to pass the discussion off as “we’re just concerned for her welfare” rather than the gross discrimination that it actually was.

If Balic is battling anxiety and depression and isn’t fully committed to being an athlete, I don’t blame him for seeking another life somewhere. It’s no place for someone who isn’t virtually obsessively driven. I hope things improve for him.
 

Cannon82

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You don't have to dislike a situation a heap to walk away from a $50k job. Turning his back on that much money (and a childhood dream) is probably a good indicator of how much he hates what he does. For the amount of time we spend at work, life is too short to stay there if it makes life miserable. Hopefully he can find a life that makes him happy and fulfilled.

Fairly good odds by the time he's hit 30 he'll wish he'd stuck it out and that it wasn't such a bad thing after all. At 21, he's pretty much known playing elite AFL football and... going to school. At that age he still wouldn't know his a-hole from his headhole.
 

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Proper Gander

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Fairly good odds by the time he's hit 30 he'll wish he'd stuck it out and that it wasn't such a bad thing after all. At 21, he's pretty much known playing elite AFL football and... going to school. At that age he still wouldn't know his a-hole from his headhole.
I’m sure he may from time to time feel some regret for not being able to capitalise on an opportunity, but if he can get some balance it shouldn’t keep him from sleep or ruin his life with regrets. I ditched my career at much the same reasons because I just wasn’t coping at much the same age and survived. I can even say it brought some perspective and even some good by broadening horizons and all that, even though I was more like 40 than 30 to feel I’d pretty much come to terms with things. He’s not too old to start again.
 

Cannon82

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I’m sure he may from time to time feel some regret for not being able to capitalise on an opportunity, but if he can get some balance it shouldn’t keep him from sleep or ruin his life with regrets. I ditched my career at much the same reasons because I just wasn’t coping at much the same age and survived. I can even say it brought some perspective and even some good by broadening horizons and all that, even though I was more like 40 than 30 to feel I’d pretty much come to terms with things. He’s not too old to start again.

I don't think throwing the towel in on a professional sporting career where the window of opportunity is narrow is like quitting your job as a teacher to become a software programmer. Not many people decide at 30 they're going to play sport professionally out of the blue (Dirk Nannes aside). This is one of those occasions where not staying the course and sticking it out for a bit longer could become a serious regret for him.
 

Grimesy87

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Doesn’t sound too bad. Get paid great money to live your childhood dream. Get paid great money to stay fit. Get really good assistance with life, diet, health, study, etc.

Nobody is saying it isn’t really tough. And nobody is saying either that if someone is really hating it they should stick with it. Nobody here really knows the details of what’s happening, but at least the negative comments started from something based in reality (Harley’s own statement about the grind, etc.), rather than people’s assumptions about how horrible his life is and how unbearable it is to be an AFL player.

Chill out.
Nah man, I'm chill. Just funny how people make assumptions, not just balic, but others too. And justify it by saying "but the money"

Culture shock, there was a poster up here that said he liked his job and what he was doing because he felt he belonged, as opposed to more money in the mines etc. Yet 2 of the other quotes from my post are saying it's all beer and skittles because they get paid money. Shock horror, there are afl footballers that rather a lifestyle with mates and cruising through life, or travelling, or whatever, over the big time lifestyle.
Wow - nice post.

It’s not all a horrible experience though (not that I have ever played AFL).

Some opportunities and experiences that come about from playing professionally sport must be amazing.

That said, it’s certainly not for everyone and I don’t think anyone should be upset with Harley Balic for pulling out.

He will face his issues wherever he goes, but I can certainly understand him and the club agreeing to part ways if he is unable to fulfil his end of the bargain - particularly if that is causing him further stress and anxiety.

Not horrible- just different.
 

Proper Gander

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I don't think throwing the towel in on a professional sporting career where the window of opportunity is narrow is like quitting your job as a teacher to become a software programmer. Not many people decide at 30 they're going to play sport professionally out of the blue (Dirk Nannes aside). This is one of those occasions where not staying the course and sticking it out for a bit longer could become a serious regret for him.
You assume a lot. I wasn’t a teacher, and never would have become a software programmer. I’d been working in an elite area professionally from age 14, and before that in fact - though 14 was the age where my earnings could go to me directly rather than placed in trust, had my entire tertiary study which commenced before I was 16 funded by the Australian Government and o/s sponsors who invest in talent and I’m pretty certain I was earning a fair bit more than Balic plus able to continue for a lengthy career rather than the 5 years average for an AFL player. And I had serious regrets but coped.

You think you know everything, but you don’t know jack about anyone on this board.
 

Cannon82

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You assume a lot. I wasn’t a teacher, and never would have become a software programmer. I’d been working in an elite area professionally from age 14, and before that in fact - though 14 was the age where my earnings could go to me directly rather than placed in trust, had my entire tertiary study which commenced before I was 16 funded by the Australian Government and o/s sponsors who invest in talent and I’m pretty certain I was earning a fair bit more than Balic plus able to continue for a lengthy career rather than the 5 years average for an AFL player. And I had serious regrets but coped.

You think you know everything, but you don’t know jack about anyone on this board.

What are you on about? I have no idea what you do, I just plucked two careers out of the air. Are you a software programmer? If so, then change the above to "teacher" and "bus driver".
 

Grimesy87

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But they don’t avoid criticism do they? This thread and your post kind of demonstrate this.

I get depression and anxiety periodically and it is horrible. Also, there is no way anyone in their right mind would use mental illness as a “free pass”. This stigma is in no way gone and while more people may have heard about mental illness because of promotional work by various organisations, this isn’t the same at all as it being accepted. I go out of my way to avoid anyone in my workplace knowing that I struggle with these symptoms because it’s hugely career limiting. I was on a recruitment panel once where the (undocumented) discussion about the best candidate, who had acted in the actual position for more than a year and performed exceptionally, was whether maybe she shouldn’t be selected because she had taken 2 weeks stress leave 12 months earlier, so maybe get someone “better up to it”. Typically the campaigners suggesting this were trying to pass the discussion off as “we’re just concerned for her welfare” rather than the gross discrimination that it actually was.

If Balic is battling anxiety and depression and isn’t fully committed to being an athlete, I don’t blame him for seeking another life somewhere. It’s no place for someone who isn’t virtually obsessively driven. I hope things improve for him.
I literally agree with everything you said, and hope it improves for not only you, and others in similar positions.

Those other similar positions can be highly paid footballers too, who thought "yeah I'll sign a 400k wage and all my trouble disappears" for example.
 

Dancing Potato

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Depression and anxiety are like a hole filled with darkness. There's a ladder to climb out but once you're in the hole you can't see the ladder. In fact, you can't see anything that's outside the hole either - like money, opportunity etc. Someone/s has to show you the ladder and guide you out.

From the outside it's easy to say 'But why aren't you happy? Think of the money!' - we can see that from outside the hole. They can't. It's like saying 'Why are you even depressed? Just stop being sad and start being happy'. It simply doesn't work.

He may well regret the decision to walk away. But he can't even see what he's walking away from until he's out of the hole and in the clear. So I can't blame him at all. Someone will likely have shown him this as the way out and he has taken it because it's all he could see.
 

Grimesy87

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What are you on about? I have no idea what you do, I just plucked two careers out of the air. Are you a software programmer? If so, then change the above to "teacher" and "bus driver".
Time to board the reality bus, son.
 

Proper Gander

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What are you on about? I have no idea what you do, I just plucked two careers out of the air. Are you a software programmer? If so, then change the above to "teacher" to "bus driver".
I’m trying, albeit clearly clumsily, to explain that I too had to leave a profession which few have the opportunity to do and most would envy can - with time and balance - be survivable and in some cases the right thing to do.
 

Bunk Moreland

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A lot of people seem to assume he’ll end up regretting the decision because “real life” sucks, apparently.

(It doesn’t for everybody, not everyone hates their jobs or lives).

It’s possible, but why is it necessarily the case?

AFL footy is not heaven for everyone. In fact, for those of certain dispositions, it would be absolute hell on earth. There’d be few other occupations where people of this age are under as much external pressure.

I doubt he’s made the decision lightly. He’s been doing the job for three years, it’s not as though he’s walked out after a week. He may well go on to find peace and be very happy.
 

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