This afternoon we took the boys to the Hawthorn Community Camp at Aurora Stadium. It was a great afternoon where the boys could get involved in an Auskick clinic and take part in different practice drills with the players. It was a beautiful afternoon, and nice to see Nicki and Alex and the kids who came up from Ulverstone for it.
The kids were split into different age groups and sent to different parts of the ground to work with different players. After a certain amount of time the whistle would blow to let them know it was time to rotate. I was surprised that Harri actually was okay to go off on his own with the younger kids.
He was so funny - he was lining up to have a kick at goal and puts the ball on the ground like it is a soccer ball, and then goes to kick it. Clinton Young was with him and said 'hang on buddy - it's not a soccer ball!' and tells him to pick it up and kick it properly. Harri says that he can't so Clinton showed him how it was done. Harri still kept saying 'I can't do that!', but had a go anyway and was so excited when he kicked it.
Jay had a great time with his group. In the handball drill he won a raffle ticket by getting it through the target, and was then placed in the draw to win a big prize at the end of the afternoon. He didn't win, but was excited to be in the draw.
Harri loved the contact drill where he had to ram himself into the pad.
There was a Telstra half time tent where they got to have a live phone call with Leigh Matthews. It was great as the kids got to actually ask him questions and he would ask them things. Aaron went in with Harri and got him to ask 'who do you love more - Hawthorn, Collingwood or Brisbane?'. Leigh said it depends where he is at, and said that today it was Hawthorn'.
Jared Roughead was the one doing the call with Leigh Matthews and was great with the kids.
Usually when it is all over the players stay on field so people can go up and get autographs and have their photos taken. This year they set it up differently where there were two marquees and you had to line up to get autographs and weren't allowed any photos. Aaron took Noah through one marquee as he wanted to get Noah's wheelchair signed by a couple of the players. At the same time I lined up to get Aaron's geurnsey signed by his favourite player - Luke Hodge. He doesn't have any autographs on it, but only wanted Luke's.
When I got to the players I was scanning up and down the players to find Luke, but couldn't find him (even though it was advertised he was in that marquee). I don't know all the players, but I was sure I knew who he was and wondered why I couldn't see him. Aaron was walking past and I asked him if he was there and he was disappointed to see he had gone. He didn't want any other players to sign it, so I had waited in line for nothing. I came out of the line and then Aaron said that maybe we could get a couple of the to sign Noah's chair instead. I explained to the security lady what had happened, but there was no way she was even going to let Noah just slip back in to get two signatures and said we would have to go right to the back of the line again (which was huge). There was no way I was doing that and argued with her that I had just wasted my time for one signature and he wasn't there, but she wasn't going to budge.
Lucky another security guard heard what was happening and asked us who we wanted and Aaron said that if possible it would be great to get Brent Guerra, even though he wasn't in the marquee, but was standing close by. The security guard went over and asked and as soon as he saw Noah he was more than happy to sign it and have a chat. He asked Noah if he was excited on grand final day, and Aaron told him that he (Aaron) was!
A girl who works with Hawthorn then came over and said she saw what was going on and that we were hoping to just get Luke Hodge's autograph and said he had to go into the rooms for a photo. She asked me if I would like her to take the top to get signed for us and of course I said yes! She was so lovely and came back with it all signed. Lucky for Aaron, as we were leaving Hodgie was about to get into the van to leave and was happy to pose for a photo.
It was a great afternoon. Aaron is now so pumped for the footy to start. Harri was all tuckered out by the end of it and grizzled all the way to the car - until he got into Nicki's pram and was pushed the rest of the way!