Dear Club Presidents, players, club members and supporters,
This weekend 108 teams participate in 54 games across 12 venues in week 1 of the 2017 finals. To all participating teams, players, coaches and volunteers - congratulations on your commitment and the efforts you’ve made to earn the right to contest finals.
The bad news is...most of you are going to lose a game or two over the next three weeks, with just a quarter of our finals teams achieving the ultimate prize of a premiership. The good news is...winning and losing is not the real mark of success or failure - and it’s certainly not the purpose of our competition or the reason to participate. It’s the joy of playing, the lessons learnt, the friendships forged, the character developed and the character revealed, both in victory and defeat, that makes sport meaningful and worthy.
A grand example from another sport comes from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, as shown on this YouTube link:
Derek Redmond’s fortitude and bravery that day made him a national hero and Olympic icon, more famous than the runner who crossed the line first. Adversity challenges us to prove how strong we really are, in a way success never can. So, whatever the scoreboard, play with pride, embrace the moment and be the best and bravest you can be.
Global Olympic Promotion after 1992:
Those of you approving of Derek Redmond’s dad entering the track will be pleased to learn that this finals season we are allowing spectators onto the playing field during the quarter and half time breaks in play. We ask that everyone abide by the ground manager’s directives, clear the ground promptly ahead of the resumption of play, do not approach umpires under ANY circumstances and leave the coaching to the coaches.
A big thank you to the 12 clubs hosting finals and gala days this weekend and the ground management crew supporting these clubs. A full copy of the draw is attached. Spectators are asked to respect ground markings and all relevant code of conduct requirements. We are proud of the standards our supporters maintain in this regard and expect no less come finals. All teams also please note that boundary and goal umpires are supplied by the AFL throughout the finals.
Finally, it's a wonderful thing that every one of our 28 clubs participating in competitive age groups has at least one team in the finals, including one of the newest additions to our ranks - the Balgowlah Suns. On behalf of the entire Sydney Harbour Committee, I wish every player, team and club a finals series to remember with pride.