To Celebrate or Castigate? That Is The Question

During nearly six decades of an incorrigible addiction to my beloved “Blueboys”, I have fortunately and with exciting ecstasy seen them win eight premierships from 1968 to 1995. So what now after 23 years of dismal disappointment?

It may be that the salary cap scandal still haunts the club; it may be that Mark McClure’s perspective that blames poor choices and decisions by club powerbrokers since then including trading “seasoned” players among others, is more pertinent, but what of the fans who continue to watch nothing less than headless chooks chart their own demise every weekend? It is not just the depressing defeats that are alleviating the pleasurable intensity of my past addiction, but the apparent abuse of commitment and effort on the field witnessed perennially and predictably on a boring basis.

Decrying previous errors of judgement, mistakes and traditional history by the club is pointless; instead coach Brendon Bolton and his powerful entourage must instill a different psychology into the players that inspires self-belief, confidence and trust in them not just as individuals but as a competitive team.

The salient fact that several of the club’s players were top draft picks seemingly playing below their prowess suggests it is not skills or strategy that are innately absent, but a sense of togetherness and tenacity to cohere as a champion team.

Before the start of the 2017 season, Bolton implored supporters for patience as the players were young, inexperienced and physically immature. His statements seemed, as they do now ad nauseum, overwhelmingly negative; pathetic excuses for them and of course himself, with no recognition or acknowledgment that similar players at other clubs are succeeding in debut years or after just a couple of seasons in the AFL.

It has oft been scribed that Aussie Rules, and most other sports, are played from the shoulders up; Geelong legend, Harry Taylor, penned the word “footyology” a few years ago defining success in football as essentially and dependently a “mind” game with most footballers reasonably equal in skills, speed and strategy. It is the psychology and mindset of players that surpasses the basics to develop a winning mentality.

That’s not to say young players will always be consistent performers, but too many Carlton players are consistently poor in endeavour, execution and enterprise. A fresh and fighting positive psychology needs inculcating into these players to enable them to reach the potential they showed as top draft picks.

It is not about patience for me as I’m tired of the platitudes of pity that emanate from the club’s supposed professionals. It IS about appreciating acumen, acuity and achievement can be acquired with the right mental approach. The players need mind coaching as much as in hand-balling, tackling, kicking to targets or for goals. Currently, they must feel as despondent as the supporters, despite what their spin doctors scribe for them.

Michael Warner in the Herald Sun 27/7 summed it up “Whether Carlton’s agitators have either time or patience is another matter”, but as a fan who still cares about my beloved “Blueboys”, I can only hope that I live long enough to see them hold the premiership cup aloft instead of stirring the pot with another wooden spoon.