“Resilience, the ability to bounce back”, “you make your own luck”, “train hard so you can play easy”, “make the bounce of the ball go your way” – we know the drill.
We’ve heard them all before, the sporting cliché’s that if one dedicates themselves and works hard for their goals, they will yield favourable results, or at least, summon everything in their power to lead to an advantageous result.
However, after seeing Sydney Swans defender Alex Johnson assisted off the Melbourne Cricket Ground with yet another suspected torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament, I think it’s fair to say a large spread of the AFL community, and entire sporting community, can’t help but feel like those sayings are a load of shit.
Since winning a premiership in 2012 as a fresh faced 20-year old, the defender has been through a hell of a lot, his ACL proving to be his Achilles’ heel.
The latest setback, on his ‘good’ knee, will be the sixth ACL related injury that Johnson has required surgery for since that premiership win nearly six years ago.
Carried off, slumped on the bench, in tears. Teammates in shock, some crying. Coaches not knowing what to say. It took this man three years before he could even jog a lap at training. Two games back in the red & white, bang, gone. Forever?
We will see.
“The talk when he went off was ‘everyone needs a bit of Alex Johnson in them’, that resilience, that fight, that hunt and that mindset never to give up,” Swans midfielder, Luke Parker said.
Despite suffering what could be a career-ending injury, Johnson was at the forefront of the squad at quarter-time, slapping backs, offering words of encouragement. The man’s mental strength is on another level.
Regardless of whether or not this is the end of the road for Johnson, it shouldn’t matter. This journey is already one of incredible resilience, strength and adversity.
But sometimes, regardless of how the saying goes, you simply can’t make your own luck.