GUEST POST: Twitter’s @youjustsaycc pleads to Brad Fittler “Don’t do it, for memory’s sake”.

"THE SUMMER OF GUEST!" (It's way better than George's.)

“THE SUMMER OF GUEST!” (It’s way better than George’s.)

The Summer of Guest rolls on!

Today, Twitter’s favourite image poster, Chris (@youjustsaycc), gives us a touching tale of watching his son growing up with Brad Fittler at the Roosters and how sometimes memories are best left in the bank — because new memories have a funny way of pushing out the old ones.

Chris comes from a point of authority that I can only dream of having, being a supporter of the club for longer than I’ve been alive. He began his support in 1974 as a 10-year-old, or a year before colour television came on the market and gave us Roosters fans the perfect response to Souths fans who claim we are forever in their shadow i.e. “how many of those 20 premierships have been in the colour TV era?”

He recalls the glory days when giants such as Arthur Beetson, Ian Schubert, John Peard and Mark Harris all inspired, but he holds a special place in his heart for Freddy, as many of us do. And I’ll admit it: when it comes to Fittler, I’m a blithering mess. In my eyes, he can do no wrong, and him holding up those hands to the fans in 2002 brought out a torrent of tears I thought would only be drawn out through the death of a loved one. Or from watching Marley and Me.

When the announcement was made that Fittler was potentially back, I didn’t even think twice: “This is awesome”. But Chris makes a valid point that has me taking that second thought.

Please, Brad: Don’t do it.

By Chris @youjustsaycc
Source: Inside Sport.

Source: Inside Sport.

Few sportsmen in this country have truly inspired me to tears. But being a Roosters supporter and having Brad Fittler sign for the club changed my view entirely on how sports players can change the way a club is perceived, and also changed my idea of what it means to be a true fan.

I actually started going to games when the Roosters signed him in 1996. At the time having a son under five — that I had only on weekends — presented challenges, but he took to the footy and eventually to Fittler like everyone else did.

I remember early on that my son’s main focus at games was getting down to see the mascot to get a high five, only to come back up the aisle with tears in his eyes because the mascot had already gone past or he was pushed out of the way. I would cheer him up by telling him that he would come around again in the second half only to see the same thing happen again.

As all good kids know, if you do your homework you will get results and it only took him a few games to work out where the mascot was. He finally got his first high five. He ran back up the aisle, fist pumping, to tell me.

That was the first time I cried but the few sitting nearby that witnessed it didn’t laugh. They merely understood and cheered.

I think it might have been the next season when we started sitting in bay 13, right next to the tunnel, that he started to understand the players and who they were. He would ask who each player was and how I rated them.

Source: regnirts.blogspot.com.

Source: regnirts.blogspot.com.

He certainly knew who Brad Fittler was.

He studied him like a hawk and even at his early age understood just how good this guy was. Time and time again he would reach down the tunnel trying for that elusive high five from Freddy, only to miss out and get all upset. This went on for months.

I remember the day like it was yesterday when I was coming back with food at half time one day in the middle of August, stepping over people to get back to the seat when I saw my son nearly falling into the tunnel but jumping back out and yelling at me:

“Dad, I just got a high five from Brad Fittler!”

Well,that was it for me. I lost it and burst into tears. The people we were sitting next to understood the moment and dutifully cheered and I quickly composed myself, but the look on his face was priceless and the memory etched forever.

Source: Indeden.

Source: Indeden.

We won that day, on many levels, and it was just one of the many “Brad Fittler moments” that my son and I would see together over the years. From the game-changing moments to the orchestrated come from behind wins, we witnessed them all.

That’s the Brad Fittler I remember.

Fast forward to 2014 and my son is all grown up, and is only a few years away from the age of our current first-grade players. We then hear that Fittler has announced he wants to make a comeback, albeit in the “Nines” tournament. At first I though it was crazy; once it was established that he was fair dinkum, I went through all the emotions that most people are going through now.

Then I had a good, long think about it: what happens if something goes wrong?

No one would want to see him taken off the field injured or with a busted hammy. While he is seemingly fit and the old side step will be there along with the cut-out passes, he has 20 years on these guys. History is littered with failed comebacks and while this is not a “comeback” in the true sense of the word he will be on public display and there for the target.

Nothing should go wrong for him but there is the chance. I would prefer to remember the old Brad Fittler, not the new old Brad Fittler. He has done enough in the game and doesn’t need to risk this.

So Freddy, don’t do it. I’m done crying.

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9 responses to “GUEST POST: Twitter’s @youjustsaycc pleads to Brad Fittler “Don’t do it, for memory’s sake”.

  1. Having kids does soften you up – I teared-up twice in that piece!

    I think you’re missing the point here. Freddy isn’t doing it because of ego, nor because he needs the money. He’s doing it because he’s a bit of a tripper and he won’t sweat on his ‘legacy ‘.

    There’s a whole spice-of-life angle that our Freddy is tapping into here, and even if he does get shown-up, I imagine his perspective will be a) my achievements still stand and b) haters’r gonna hate.

    That’s my read, anyway.

    Like

    • That’s a valid point, and maybe Freddy doesn’t really care about getting injured, as he has the rest of his life to recover. Also his legacy won’t mean much to him considering he’s done it all.

      But, I remember when Michael Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls having won six titles, with the last shot of his career the championship winner. He left on top, with the image of the final shot of his career to seal a championship one that only the true legends deserve.

      He then came back, three years later, playing for the Washington Wizards. The curiosity piqued, and tickets sold out around the US. Jordan said “there was an itch that needed to be scratched”, and everyone watched him scratch it.

      Perhaps he should have just scratched it in private, because there was something ultimately jarring watching a 40-year-old Jordan miss the playoffs with a Wizard as a mascot, sitting on the bench after the first scoreless game of his career. We didn’t know it at the time, but he hurt his legacy. We now have to delve past that memory to find the good ones.

      Chris doesn’t want to do that with Brad Fittler.

      Does our memory of Brad outweigh Freddy’s keenness for another run? Probably not, especially to someone as carefree as God. And I’m sure he doesn’t sweat his legacy at all.

      I’m in two minds on this, as I said in the intro… I’d love to see him play again, but at what cost? To see him limping off? Now I can go either way — yet last week I was firmly in that “play, PLAY!” corner…

      Like

      • My memories of Jordan are different. He was that good, that any bullshit attempted as a 40 year old is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.

        Go Freddy!

        Like

        • Fair call — I was only old enough to really apppreciate Jordan during the second three-peat, but was well aware of the Wizards comeback. I had to buy the “Jordan’s greatest games” DVD to really get a sense of those old games.

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  2. I’m in two minds on this also but I feel ultimately it’s up to Freddy. I guess what God may giveth, God may also taketh away?
    One thing that is absolutely certain though is the passion Freddy has for our Roosters.

    Like

    • Yessir — and it looks more likely than ever now that he’ll play despite the rare piece of investigative journalism undertaken by Newscorp yesterday:

      http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/brad-fittlers-auckland-nines-comeback-faces-nrl-obstacle-due-to-doping-code/story-fndv38w0-1226799613236

      Who the heck knew News had it in them? They read something, looked into it deeper and came up with a real story! WOW. I am FLABBERGASTED.

      Hardly surprising though that News would investigate something the Roosters are doing — if this were, say, the Broncos with Lockyer or the Bunnies with… I dunno, Jeremy Smith?… that story would not have popped up. No chance in hell.

      Roosters? “Let’s see if we can stop this.”

      if you doubt it, remember this is a news publisher that refused to criticise Souths during the Squirrel Grip Saga nor run anything on the “smelling salts” fiasco.

      Like

      • Hardly surprising is right. The journalism you speak of is yet another negative take on something involving the Roosters. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were setting themselves up for a ‘one rule for the Roosters’ type follow up story closer to the date…

        Like

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