Eddie Betts - Appeared 11th September, 2020
- AFL Player for Carlton
The NRL School to Work participants were privileged to have AFL legend Eddie Betts share his journey on the 4th episode of our Yarning Circles. Eddie was joined by former NRL great Dean Widders who was excited to meet one of the all-time greats of AFL, “One of my best mates who is a huge NRL fan, moved to Geelong years ago, and told me about this AFL small forward who kicks impossible goals from all over the ground. He now is a big AFL fan due to your talent and passion for the game” Dean said. “Since then, I have always wanted to meet you, so it is an honour to speak with you today”. Dean added.
Eddie shared his story of growing up in Kalgoorlie as a proud Wirangu/Kokatha/Guburn boy with his family and playing footy with his cousins. Due to moving around as a child, his education suffered, which resulted him leaving school at Year 9. When Eddie was drafted to Carlton as an 18 year old, he didn’t know how to read or write. Eddie worked hard over the first 3 years of his career by working with a tutor to help with his numeracy and literacy. Eddie is a big advocate of education and due to his personal experiences, has honed his passion to creating and writing 2 children’s books called, “My Kind” and “MY People”. “I wanted to encourage children to read. The books are about being kind to one another, by celebrating everyone’s backgrounds and cultures, something I live by every day. If I can make one person smile and feel good about themselves, then that makes me feel good”. Eddie said.
Eddie has come a long way since his days of growing up in Kalgoorlie. Eddie has played over 320 AFL games, kicked over 600 goals, has won goal of the year 4 times, and won numerous awards throughout his career. With this success, has unfortunately brought many racial attacks throughout his career, which has been difficult and hard to deal with. With this, he is committed to making sure future Aboriginal players coming through the system have greater support than he did. “One thing I make sure of is, when an Aboriginal player gets drafted to my club, he comes and stays at my house so he is supported and feels welcome and a part of the family. There are too many players leaving the game early because they haven’t got the support they need to have to successful careers”
Eddie’s passion and love for his culture was evident throughout the whole yarning session which was reflected by all that listened in. Thank you Eddie for sharing your story today, i absolutely loved it. You are so inspiring to listen to, such a positive role model I was star struck"Tayla DeSanat Participant of the Program
Eddie finished the yarn by encouraging all the students to keep with their studies and finish school. “I want Aboriginal kids to realise, if they graduate they are role models. You don’t have to be playing NRL or AFL to be a role model, if you graduate school, you are a role model in your own right. By finishing school, the world is your oyster, you can do anything, go to University be a doctor, lawyer, anything you want to. Eddie added, “I urge every student listening today, although it is really tough with COVID this year, especially in Victoria, I urge you to stick at it and graduate, because education is the key to endless opportunities for your life”
Eddie Betts – Episode 4
“That was amazing listening to Eddie speak about his journey with AFL. I loved it so much.”George Dann Participant of the Program