You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone
YOU have to feel for Sam Docherty - and by extension, Carlton fans.
Already without much to look forward to in 2019 aside from blooding another number one overall pick, the Blues on Monday were dealt a cruel blow when new skipper Docherty went down with an ACL injury for the second-consecutive pre-season.
In a team lacking top-end talent outside Patrick Cripps and arguably Charlie Curnow, the return of 2017 All Australian Docherty was going to be pivotal to the Blues' chances of being competitive next season.
One player does not a good season make, but at his best Docherty is a supreme collector and user of the football from halfback and his nous was something the Blues dearly missed last season.
Even as someone bred to dislike Carlton, I still enjoyed watching the former Brisbane Lion ply his trade in the defensive 50.
Docherty's injury is a blow to fans of the AFL, not just those at Carlton.
There is a long laundry list of promising athletes whose careers were cruelled by injury.
The most recent and like-for-like example to Docherty is Sydney defender Alex Johnson. Just one year Docherty's senior, Johnson suffered a sixth knee injury in as many seasons and was delisted by the Swans in September.
Johnson was immeasurably unlucky with his string of injuries. But often-times it is not an inability to return to the field, rather an inability to do what you once could on the field which leads to an early retirement.
In his 2017 season, Docherty led the Blues in a myriad of stats. Most importantly for a defender, he ranked second in the competition in kicks, third in rebound 50s, sixth in metres gained and 22nd in intercepts.
None of this is to say Docherty's career is over, but will he ever be the same dominating player he once was? Knee injuries have cruelled the speed, power and cutting ability of many a professional athlete.
Which brings me to my point - sometimes you don't appreciate what you've got, 'til it's gone.
So don't waste any time.
If you are like me, and an Aussie rules fan living outside AFL heartland, make the most of any opportunity to watch your favourite players perform.
I implore any Queensland or Newcastle Knights fans to get to McDonald Jones Stadium sooner rather than later to watch Kalyn Ponga do his thing.
Appreciate the heroics of your favourite athletes today, because you never know what may happen tomorrow.
Don't tell yourself, 'oh, I'll go next time' - there may not be a next time.