BSSC and Bendigo Pioneers footballers had an unforgettable experience this morning when former Blues and Giants footballer, now media producer, Dylan Buckley, visited the college.

Hosted by Bendigo Pioneers coach, Damien Truslove, the session had students both laughing and leaning in to catch every word of Dylan’s inspiring journey through life and 41 games at AFL football’s highest level.

With great honesty, he spoke about being drafted to his first AFL club, Carlton, and the wake-up call that changed his attitude to life and football.

“I thought things were just going to happen,” he said, “but things don’t just happen. It wasn’t until Heath Scotland took me under his wing—taught me about work ethic and how to train—that things started to change for me.”

Dylan spoke at length about the importance finding an equilibrium—both as a footballer and a person—to stay grounded and avoid the crushing lows that can come with the challenges of football.

He also stressed how vital it is for young people to have something in their life beyond football.

“When I was delisted by Carlton it was the worst two months of my life,” he recounted. “All my focus had been on football, I had no real skills… I thought, what am I going to do?”

After being offered another chance by the Giants, he knew it was time to think about life post-football and follow his passion for the media. He started his own podcast—Dyl & Friends—and now has a successful career as a radio producer on 3AW. He’s also involved with his old club, producing video content, emcee-ing at Carlton games, and pursuing a whole range of media opportunities.

“It’s not what happens in life, but how you react to it,” he told students. “These days I treat my AFL career like it was a university degree. I learnt so much from those experiences and I use that learning in everything I do.”

Thanks to Dylan’s generosity, BSSC students can also benefit from that learning. Other great advice offered in the session included:

  • The more you follow your interests and passions, the better person you’ll be.
  • Don’t wait! Jump in and be confident… ‘fake it till you make it’.
  • Don’t expect life to be an upward trajectory—there WILL always be setbacks.
  • What you say is how you feel. Use positive language. “I’m not where I want to be YET.”
  • Body language… stay on your toes… look confident.
  • Don’t just turn up for training. Set goals for what you want to get out of it.
  • Get into good habits now as TAC players.
  • Hassle your coaches for help and advice. Speak to your welfare people.
  • Don’t wait… don’t waste time.

A huge thank you to Dylan and Damien for a remarkable session.

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