There was a time, many years ago now, when I was young and fit and reasonably athletic and I played Australian rules football.

I was never a great player, having mainly grown up playing basketball, but I enjoyed the experience.

One of the most vivid memories of my fleeting footy career is the feeling you get when the final siren sounds and you walk, or perhaps limp, off the ground.

Footy is a very physical game and the country leagues that I played in were brutal, so you felt as though every bone and muscle in your body had bumps and bruises.

It was the best feeling in the world.

As I tore the tape off my shoulder and shook hands with my opponent for the day, it didn’t matter who had won.

We had been to battle.

We had survived.

And we had the scars to prove it.

People who had never played the game didn’t really understand.

Doesn’t it hurt?

Yes.

Aren’t you afraid?

Sometimes.

Are you crazy?

Perhaps.

But if you avoid the pain, you never get the experience.

If you don’t get the bruises, you don’t get the memories.

If you play it safe, you haven’t really lived.

And that’s the key here.

Sure, the bumps and bruises hurt.

But they also remind us that we have lived.

Don’t ever forget that.