From Chris Sharp
It is official!!!
My worst fears have been realised & Dennis Stringer’s games record is safe.
MRI results have confirmed that my right knee, in layman’s terms, is “f—ed”.
It is apparent that an operation is required to allow me to even walk without pain. Regardless of outcome of operation, it is also apparent that there is a distinct likelihood of further deterioration of the knee joint in the future, so I have come to a decision.
For the first time in 26 years of senior football, I am:
A) actually going to take the advice of medical professionals, and B) consider the other people in my life, and the impact that my desire to continue playing football has on them
As such, after careful consideration and consultation with various parties, I will be retiring from football (effective immediately).
Given that I don’t intend doing one of those emotional ‘in front of your teammates’ speeches, I would like to take this opportunity to thank every person that I have ever been involved with from the Bentleigh Football (and now Netball) Club.
Words cannot adequately express how proud I am to have been involved with this club for the past 23 years.
As a country boy growing up in Ballarat, if anyone had told me that I would end up spending over half my life at a football club in the heart of Melbourne, I would’ve told them that they were “f—ing delusional”.
I had the opportunity to leave the BFC in 1999, when the club was basically insolvent (for all the tradies reading this, that means they were broke/had no money) and had decided to move to the VAFA. However, I chose to stay due to the amazing people involved in this club.
What many people don’t know is that I was not confident that this club would actually survive.
Not once in the last 15 years have I regretted my decision to stay, and I now consider myself privileged to see:
a) the club back in 1st Division in the SFL b) a senior team with a vast majority of players that came through the Bentleigh Junior FC program c) a club with one of the most successful reserves teams in the competition d) a club with an Under 19s team that has competed in the last 4 grand finals and won 2 of them, despite the turnover of players associated with u19 football e) a club with 3 netball teams, which will increase again next year f) Preps & Grade 1s regularly playing in Auskick games at half-time and 10-20 kids from the u9s-u17s regularly attending with their parents each week, supporting the senior team.
These things astound me.
Many people in football circles continually use the word culture. I’ve always thought that this was a “bullshit” word, however, we do have an amazing “culture” at this club.
To see so many wives, girlfriends, kids, players & supporters at our games each week, proves that the BFNC continues to head in the right direction. I only hope that everyone continues their support of this great club, which I have been honoured to call home for so long.
Finally I would like to pass on a special thanks to my wife, Gayle, and three kids (Will, Eliza & Finn).
I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices they have all made, to allow me to continue playing a sport that I love. Think it is about time for me to repay them for that support by attempting to keep my body in its usual peak physical condition, despite the fact that they have all indicated that they would be happy for me to attempt to resume playing after the operation.
In the words of Andrea Bocelli – “Con Te Partiro”.
And in the words of every f—wit that has ever appeared on a reality TV show – “it has been an amazing journey”.
Thank you all & remember “PAY YOUR SUBS”.