Player Watch #27 - Harley Balic - Retired

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Demon 16

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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.

To be fair, I don’t think Cannon82 is making any assumptions about anyone on here.

What was your area of expertise (or would you prefer not to say?)?
 

RandB

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He didn't wait until after list lodgement 3 to tell us, for that I'm grateful.

If there are some serious personal issues there I hope he works his way through them.
 

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Proper Gander

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To be fair, I don’t think Cannon82 is making any assumptions about anyone on here.

What was your area of expertise (or would you prefer not to say?)?
No I don’t mind. I was a cellist. Not dissimilar in some respects to being an athlete in that you have to start really young, and if you stop in your 20s there’s no returning 5 years later because without the 6 hours or so daily training for that length of time means your fine muscle control and muscle memory that you took for granted is gone and it’s just depressing to try because you can’t equal your best, or get in the vicinity, again. I feel for Balic because I don’t imagine this decision was made overnight, so chances are the reasons he’s decided to walk away are because he’s pretty sick and doesn’t have a whole bunch of options right now.
 

stretcharmstrong

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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
I forgot to add, get to go on fun camps with your buds over summer :D
 

stretcharmstrong

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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.
I think this conversation has wandered away from the facts of Balic’s specific situation; and also that “one side” has been a bit misconstrued.

Nuff from me.
 

Klyntonius

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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.

That could potentially happen but I think it's unlikely. He's young enough that he could get another crack at it if he finds the want for it in the near future. If he has a second go and fails then he gave it a shot and has nothing to regret. If he never finds the desire to try again then he won't regret it either.
He's not the first and won't be the last to determine that AFL football isn't what they want to do with their lives.
 

Cannon82

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That could potentially happen but I think it's unlikely. He's young enough that he could get another crack at it if he finds the want for it in the near future. If he has a second go and fails then he gave it a shot and has nothing to regret. If he never finds the desire to try again then he won't regret it either.
He's not the first and won't be the last to determine that AFL football isn't what they want to do with their lives.

True enough, although I kind of doubt it. Watching him play, he looked a very likely type to me, so the fact he only received a one year deal was a big question mark. He didn't even manage to see that one year out, so while he could possibly come back, you'd think the bloke would have to win back to back Listons to convince a club to take a punt on him. There are enough blokes around to choose from who want to play footy, so you'd need some compelling evidence to go back to the well with this one.

I'm not specifically talking about AFL football, although I would have thought that to do something that at the very you least you like, if not love, or maybe even don't care for but are good at, for (very good) coin isn't the worst thing in the world. If Balic enrolls in university to study something he loves (like that West Coast bloke Swift), good luck to him, but the only consistent message I read out of that interview was that it was all too hard and he didn't want to do it anymore.


Also, something that nags at me that I find interesting amongst all this is that while Balic is apparently a figure of sympathy for quitting football at 21 and we should all be sad for him because it hasn't been gravy, some limited but honest battler on our list who has the misfortune of being selected and not having a decent game is kicked pillar to post on the board. Out of the choice of the two, I can find a lot more sympathy for the likes of Petty, Maynard, even Bugg, etc who try their guts out and just aren't much chop at football - that's a far more tragic story in my book. That's why Jake Melksham is a sh*t player.
 
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Demon 16

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No I don’t mind. I was a cellist. Not dissimilar in some respects to being an athlete in that you have to start really young, and if you stop in your 20s there’s no returning 5 years later because without the 6 hours or so daily training for that length of time means your fine muscle control and muscle memory that you took for granted is gone and it’s just depressing to try because you can’t equal your best, or get in the vicinity, again. I feel for Balic because I don’t imagine this decision was made overnight, so chances are the reasons he’s decided to walk away are because he’s pretty sick and doesn’t have a whole bunch of options right now.

I understand that anxiety and performance anxiety can be quite strong in musicians and artists - similar to sportspeople.

Putting a lot of pressure on yourself to succeed in the field and to an extent, subconsciously attributing your own identity into the field could lead to a bit of a crash if it doesn’t work out.

The stress of not succeeding could cripple your ability to perform, which in turn leads to further stress.. then you have yourself a vicious cycle which is detrimental to your mental health.
 

Toump Ass

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No I don’t mind. I was a cellist. Not dissimilar in some respects to being an athlete in that you have to start really young, and if you stop in your 20s there’s no returning 5 years later because without the 6 hours or so daily training for that length of time means your fine muscle control and muscle memory that you took for granted is gone and it’s just depressing to try because you can’t equal your best, or get in the vicinity, again. I feel for Balic because I don’t imagine this decision was made overnight, so chances are the reasons he’s decided to walk away are because he’s pretty sick and doesn’t have a whole bunch of options right now.
Do you ever play an instrument just because?

Do you like Arthur Russell?
 

Topkent

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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.

sh*t now I feel sorry for them, poor bastards having to be busy alot of the time unlike us lucky people who get to punch out 50 hour weeks
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.

To be fair I was talking specific to sporting environments not the real world. You don't have the support networks an opportunity available to you outside of those that he does. I agree with Cannon82 , when I was younger I just wanted to cruise with no pressure and enjoy myself an now I regret not putting in harder yards earlier. What I thought was hard back then is pretty easy now
 

Proper Gander

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Do you ever play an instrument just because?

Do you like Arthur Russell?
I don’t play cello because it’s frustrating not sounding like you know you should sound, not to mention it hurts your fingers within moments without big frog-pad calluses, but I do play piano for fun because I learned young but never took it seriously, so for some reason I don’t have expectations so it can be enjoyable. The neighbours must get a vast kick out of that hobby. I rent a piano because decent ones cost a poultice to buy, but I get a kick out of messing around on it. Also piano is so often a solo instrument that it’s something you can do on your own with some satisfaction. The cats avoid it like the plague unless it’s being played then they perch on it. I figure they like the vibrations.

It’s amazing you mention Arthur Russell. I didn’t think that many people left on the planet had even heard of him. He’s a different kind of musician though - I was just a performer which is nice but he was a composer and innovator which is something else again. Every now and then when I was feeling especially pleased with myself I would remember that all the music I played some person actually sat down and conceived it and wrote it out, and that’s beyond incredible. The guy was a vast talent and was doing the classical musician who goes avant-garde before it became the thing to do. I’m really annoyed now because I had an Arthur Russell record about a million years ago when vinyl was a reality rather than a hipster fetish and I don’t anymore. I’ll have to search the webs now to find out what’s there.

I feel a bit bad now because I’ve somehow driven Balic out of his own thread but I guess he won’t mind. He should buy a piano.
 

Ando727

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No I don’t mind. I was a cellist. Not dissimilar in some respects to being an athlete in that you have to start really young, and if you stop in your 20s there’s no returning 5 years later because without the 6 hours or so daily training for that length of time means your fine muscle control and muscle memory that you took for granted is gone and it’s just depressing to try because you can’t equal your best, or get in the vicinity, again. I feel for Balic because I don’t imagine this decision was made overnight, so chances are the reasons he’s decided to walk away are because he’s pretty sick and doesn’t have a whole bunch of options right now.
I get what you're saying, but I'm not 100% onboard. I played guitar seriously right through till I was 19. Then I stopped almost entirely and tried to get a real career happening. I didn't play for 7 years. When I was 26, I decided to go back to it because I had a nagging feeling of unfulfilled talent. I auditioned for the Melbourne Uni Conservatorium of music and was accepted. I managed to get back to where I was and well ahead within a year. By the end of my second year, I was one of only 2 guitarists selected for the elite performers category to major in performance. Of course, you could argue that I would have been better had I never stopped, but I think when I returned I came back with better attention to detail, better determination, better focus, better time efficiency. So overall, I think I far surpassed what I would have done at a younger age.
 

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Proper Gander

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I get what you're saying, but I'm not 100% onboard. I played guitar seriously right through till I was 19. Then I stopped almost entirely and tried to get a real career happening. I didn't play for 7 years. When I was 26, I decided to go back to it because I had a nagging feeling of unfulfilled talent. I auditioned for the Melbourne Uni Conservatorium of music and was accepted. I managed to get back to where I was and well ahead within a year. By the end of my second year, I was one of only 2 guitarists selected for the elite performers category to major in performance. Of course, you could argue that I would have been better had I never stopped, but I think when I returned I came back with better attention to detail, better determination, better focus, better time efficiency. So overall, I think I far surpassed what I would have done at a younger age.
Different strokes and different instrument. It’s a reality for string players is if you’re not pretty damn good by 10 then you’re probably not going to have any career, big or small, other than as a teacher or similar. And a break like that doesn’t work. But hell you might be quite right and if it worked out for you then great.
 

Toump Ass

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It’s amazing you mention Arthur Russell. I didn’t think that many people left on the planet had even heard of him. He’s a different kind of musician though - I was just a performer which is nice but he was a composer and innovator which is something else again. Every now and then when I was feeling especially pleased with myself I would remember that all the music I played some person actually sat down and conceived it and wrote it out, and that’s beyond incredible. The guy was a vast talent and was doing the classical musician who goes avant-garde before it became the thing to do. I’m really annoyed now because I had an Arthur Russell record about a million years ago when vinyl was a reality rather than a hipster fetish and I don’t anymore. I’ll have to search the webs now to find out what’s there.
He's bigger now than he ever I think, there's been a few posthumous releases/compilations and a documentary as well. Apparently it's amazing but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet:

https://fourthree.boilerroom.tv/film/wild-combination-portrait-arthur-russell (signup is free/easy)

I get what you're saying, but I'm not 100% onboard. I played guitar seriously right through till I was 19. Then I stopped almost entirely and tried to get a real career happening. I didn't play for 7 years. When I was 26, I decided to go back to it because I had a nagging feeling of unfulfilled talent.
Interesting you quit guitar for a career, I've always assumed that particular instrument was a means to an ends (ie: you played guitar because you wrote songs/ were in a band/ wanted to be cool etc.)
 

Klyntonius

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True enough, although I kind of doubt it. Watching him play, he looked a very likely type to me, so the fact he only received a one year deal was a big question mark. He didn't even manage to see that one year out, so while he could possibly come back, you'd think the bloke would have to win back to back Listons to convince a club to take a punt on him. There are enough blokes around to choose from who want to play footy, so you'd need some compelling evidence to go back to the well with this one.

I'm not specifically talking about AFL football, although I would have thought that to do something that at the very you least you like, if not love, or maybe even don't care for but are good at, for (very good) coin isn't the worst thing in the world. If Balic enrolls in university to study something he loves (like that West Coast bloke Swift), good luck to him, but the only consistent message I read out of that interview was that it was all too hard and he didn't want to do it anymore.


Also, something that nags at me that I find interesting amongst all this is that while Balic is apparently a figure of sympathy for quitting football at 21 and we should all be sad for him because it hasn't been gravy, some limited but honest battler on our list who has the misfortune of being selected and not having a decent game is kicked pillar to post on the board. Out of the choice of the two, I can find a lot more sympathy for the likes of Petty, Maynard, even Bugg, etc who try their guts out and just aren't much chop at football - that's a far more tragic story in my book. That's why Jake Melksham is a sh*t player.

I doubt he'll come back too but if he's as talented as people say then he's young enough that he could prove himself and get an opportunity in the future. It's rare though for someone to leave a sport through loss of interest and return at the highest level.

In terms of the other two points, it's funny, he could play for money and then we'd piss and moan that he's not completely invested and is just happy to be a footballer taking a pay cheque. When he goes against that option he's also criticised. Can't win. Not surprising though, we as supporters want undying player loyalty to the club but are happy to cut nearly anyone at a minutes notice if we think we can get someone better. We're a fickle bunch.
 

Ando727

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Different strokes and different instrument. It’s a reality for string players is if you’re not pretty damn good by 10 then you’re probably not going to have any career, big or small, other than as a teacher or similar. And a break like that doesn’t work. But hell you might be quite right and if it worked out for you then great.
With all due respect, it's a typical arrogance that is taught to "string players", and something I've encountered time and time again specifically from violinists and cellists. "Guitar isn't a real string instrument, it doesn't have all the fine intonation and bow control, blah blah blah.". It's just something they tell you so that you will adhere to the program. All instruments are the same, IMO - they all require very fine motor control in both hands. The sad irony is that the strictness and the implied threats are what cause a huge number of promising musicians to quit. Which is a shame because the threats are typically based on flimsy reasoning.

I know people who were not prodigies, who were still very unformed chunks of clay even when they first started at the Con, two of them are currently members of the MSO, one is a member of the SSO, and a few others are having good careers in the ensemble music scene. Now, you could argue that this isn't a high flying string career, but they don't let any old chump into the MSO/SSO. Limiting beliefs kill more careers than late starts do. A lot of young performers are the victims of their teacher's limiting beliefs and their subsequent abandonment due to their teacher's frustration. I could write a book on the subject of counterproductive teachers and parents getting involved in sound musician's lives.
 

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With all due respect, it's a typical arrogance that is taught to "string players", and something I've encountered time and time again specifically from violinists and cellists. "Guitar isn't a real string instrument, it doesn't have all the fine intonation and bow control, blah blah blah.". It's just something they tell you so that you will adhere to the program. All instruments are the same, IMO - they all require very fine motor control in both hands. The sad irony is that the strictness and the implied threats are what cause a huge number of promising musicians to quit. Which is a shame because the threats are typically based on flimsy reasoning.

I know people who were not prodigies, who were still very unformed chunks of clay even when they first started at the Con, two of them are currently members of the MSO, one is a member of the SSO, and a few others are having good careers in the ensemble music scene. Now, you could argue that this isn't a high flying string career, but they don't let any old chump into the MSO/SSO. Limiting beliefs kill more careers than late starts do. A lot of young performers are the victims of their teacher's limiting beliefs and their subsequent abandonment due to their teacher's frustration. I could write a book on the subject of counterproductive teachers and parents getting involved in sound musician's lives.
Look forget it. I’m sorry I raised it in the first place.
 

Ando727

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Interesting you quit guitar for a career, I've always assumed that particular instrument was a means to an ends (ie: you played guitar because you wrote songs/ were in a band/ wanted to be cool etc.)
It depends on how you are pursuing the instrument. There is playing in bands and having fun or making albums, and then there is pursuing the instrument on a much higher technical and expressive level. The latter is a whole different level of skill and persistence. Sure, it takes skill to write a good song, but the amount of time and energy that goes into mastering an instrument to virtuoso level is a whole different ballgame. This is not confined to classical music of course - it can apply to any genre, any probably popular music where virtuosity is kind of pointless since it will never be used.
 

Cannon82

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In terms of the other two points, it's funny, he could play for money and then we'd piss and moan that he's not completely invested and is just happy to be a footballer taking a pay cheque. When he goes against that option he's also criticised. Can't win. Not surprising though, we as supporters want undying player loyalty to the club but are happy to cut nearly anyone at a minutes notice if we think we can get someone better. We're a fickle bunch.

There's always the option of trying and putting in? I agree, quitting because its hard or turning up and taking the pay are both ordinary, but he has more on the table than that. There's only a couple of months left until the end of the season.
 

Ando727

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Look forget it. I’m sorry I raised it in the first place.
I'm sorry, I seem to have touched a sensitive topic. That was not my intention. I assumed that you were willing to discuss it, but I'm happy to respect your boundaries on this. I know how sensitive this topic can be. Peace.
 

Toump Ass

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It depends on how you are pursuing the instrument. There is playing in bands and having fun or making albums, and then there is pursuing the instrument on a much higher technical and expressive level. The latter is a whole different level of skill and persistence.
Totally understood. It makes sense people would pursue guitar to that level, don't seem very common is all.
 

Ando727

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Totally understood. It makes sense people would pursue guitar to that level, don't seem very common is all.
No, it isn't. Guitar is played by every man and his dog, really. So people who pursue it to a really high level often blend into the crowd.
 

Cannon82

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No, it isn't. Guitar is played by every man and his dog, really. So people who pursue it to a really high level often blend into the crowd.

Are you saying you're not one of those guys who takes his acoustic with him everywhere he goes in case the opportunity for an impromptu kumbayah comes along? Not convinced. Going to need a photo of you without a guitar.
 

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