Why it's easy to relate to the defiance of the Tigers
Anyone else have such a defiant side to their personality that they're identifying with the Wests Tigers right now?
And by defiant I mean, when someone tells you that you can't do something, does it make you want to do it even more? I'm certainly guilty of this attitude – it's always been the case.
It's the reason I'm a sports journo today. During year 11 at high school, one of my English teachers told me that I probably wouldn't get into university and that I should have a back-up plan.
Before that I had thought I wanted to be a chef or a sports administrator (I had no idea, really). But her criticism was all the motivation I needed to bury my head in the books.
I ended up finishing in the top two in my English class and worked my butt off for a good Universities Admissions Index (UAI – or ATAR for all those people under the age of 30 out there) just to prove her wrong.
Now that I think of it, she never apologised but I assume that was her intention all along. I guess she had to do something to get us interested in The Maltese Falcon. And I doubt she ever thought about it again but I still think about it often. It's a great feeling to prove people wrong in their assumptions of you.
There's nothing like a good challenge to give a person motivation – and the way the Wests Tigers were written off by everyone (including yours truly) at the start of the year has obviously lit a fire in their bellies.
I did the interviews and wrote the club's season preview for Big League this year and I remember sitting in the colourful chairs at Concord Oval, looking at the draw and thinking they would be happy to win even one of their first five games of the season.
I don't mean that as a knock, but they did face last year's top four over the first five weeks. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe they would beat Melbourne twice, as well as the Broncos, the Roosters and the Eels. Shows what I know.
I still like to tease my former Daily Advertiser colleague Simon Brunsdon about the time he tipped the Cootamundra Bulldogs to run last in the Group 9 competition, and the captain of the team cut it out of the paper and framed it to hang in their sheds that season.
I can't remember where they placed but it certainly wasn't last. At least they got whatever motivation they needed out of it. It's probably still hanging there for all we know.
I guess as long as tipping is around, someone will always have egg on their face. And unfortunately, if you publish your predictions and doubts, it only takes a screenshot to humble you.
In Big League this week we celebrate the inspiring way the Wests Tigers have turned their form around and how it has everything to do with confidence and defying the doubters.
Enjoy the footy!