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Living in the heart of Surfers, within the current Schoolies bubble, I have to say firstly the behaviour this year so far, is excellent. They’re kids and they’re having fun.

Speaking of kids, and kids will inevitably evolve into Heroes and heroines in their own right, I thought I’d like to share the experience of being a Tennis Fan site moderator and having the good fortune to watch a sporting Hero evolve.

It began in 2004 when I took my daughter to Melbourne Park for the Australian Open Tennis and we watched a match on an outside court. The fascinating thing was not so much the match; I’m not even sure exactly who was playing except that the game was being watched by a group of Spanish speaking players and coaches including one excitable young teenager who kept clattering about swapping seats and rows, laughing and having a great time.

After about twenty minutes of this, I looked at him, squarely in the eye – he was now two seats away in the same row – and said something along the line of, “For goodness sake, please sit still,” and obviously had a frown on my face to accompany the request.

A “Mum” showing displeasure was too much for the lad and he apologised, with a sweet smile and sat still, almost still, for the rest of the match. I didn’t speak Spanish and he didn’t speak English, but he knew exactly what the problem was.

That night, to my absolute surprise, Lleyton Hewitt played a Round Three match on Centre Court and who was his opponent? Yes, it was seventeen year old Rafael Nadal no less. He put up a great fight and was applauded with a standing ovation by most of the crowd who had enjoyed the match so much, they forgot to be parochial. 🙂

Being one of his early fans who had actually told him off and asked him to sit still, got me hooked and I began to follow his progress as the tournaments took him far and wide around the globe.

Having a professional sports person in the family, although not in tennis, I felt I had an insider’s POV and understood much of the coaching, training and assorted difficulties a young sportsman faced. After posting comments on the original site usually regarding all of the above, I was asked to help moderate and am still at it.

It’s been a joy and many of the guys and gals have rallied to travel to the various venues over the years, meet each other, get an autograph and cheer our Hero on. The last few years, some from overseas have made it to the Aussie Open and next year I am going to Monte Carlo, joining fellow members from all over Europe, together with some Americans and Canadians…and me.

It has been an interesting journey, firstly being lucky enough to watch someone develop into a world class player – and all this from a little kid with a gorgeous smile who nearly drove me mad.

So I look at the Schoolies and try to imagine how they will evolve. What will they choose to do and will I cross paths with any of them again. Who knows, one may well be my Doctor in ten years time, so I am generous with my smiles.

Cheers!

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