The first day I ever heard the name Brad Fittler was not a happy day.
I was a schoolboy at St Columba's in the Blue Mountains and the under 15s rugby league team had drawn the world's shortest straw: play the national champions St Dominic's, Penrith at their home ground.
Understandably, our school couldn't find enough conscripts to field the required 13 for a team.
A game of rugby league against St Dom's would end in bruising to your ego and possibly some of your limbs.
It wasn't my age bracket, and my team had already been knocked out for the year, so I, and many others, found the under 15s predicament a source of much laughter.
But then, their coach asked me if I was willing to step up and play against St Dom's.
Even in those days I had a mild case of the "messiah complex", so I said, "yes".
It reminds me of that scene in Shakespeare's Henry V when the English are hopelessly outnumbered by the French at the Battle of Agincourt. Before that battle, King Henry's friend Salisbury declares "tis a fearful odds!".
Before our game against St Dominic's, my Salisbury whispered to me, "This is Brad Fittler's team!"
"Who is Brad Fittler?" I asked.
"They reckon he's going to play for Penrith one day!" he declares, "Fittler is going to carve you guys up!"
Great motivational speak hey!
Who needs Tony Robbins with this guy around?!
His foolish words were no match for my lofty musings; akin to the very words of the great King Henry: "If we are mark'd to die, we are now to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honour... if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive!"
After St Dominic's ran in their third unanswered try within the first few minutes, the last thing on my mind was honour.
We were all very quiet throughout our 50+ to nil loss. Our coach was screaming sideline "Talk to each other!"
Don't get too down about your failures in life. Almost all failures can be redeemed and the difference between winners and losers is not so much their ability to win but rather their ability to endure failure
But what to say? "Good dropped ball there mate?... Superb missed tackle that one cobber!... Hey champ, I'd always thought you were supposed to step into the opposition when you tackle him, not step out of his way and close your eyes, so, thanks for setting us straight on that one!"
At least I could always boast I once played against the great Brad Fittler.
After the game I asked my Salisbury my one and only burning question "So what number was Brad Fittler?"
"Fittler didn't play" he said laughing "and you are lucky he didn't!
If Brad Fittler had have played you'd have got an even bigger thrashing!"
Grrr, my very own Shakespearean tragedy.
I agree with Australian writer Frank Sheed (1897-1982) who claimed "Our treatment of anything must depend, in the last resort, on what we think it is; for instance, we treat people one way and cats another, because of our idea of what a man is and what a cat is."
What is failure?
Well, before Brad Fittler took over as the NSW team's coach, NSW had lost 11 of the last 12 series between 2006-2017 and it was downright depressing.
Obviously thinks have improved on that front of late, and not before too long.
Many times in life the ball bounces the wrong way, or you'll drop the ball or even lose a very important game.
But don't get too down about your failures in life.
Almost all failures can be redeemed and the difference between winners and losers is not so much their ability to win but rather their ability to endure failure.
When you fail, consider only two options: either fix it, or forget it.
If you have been suffering for a long time from a great failure, even a tragedy, it is probably because you have been standing in limbo between these two options and have been too afraid to do either, and this is the cause of your pain.
Yes, some failures cannot be fixed, and some tragedies cannot be undone.
However, accepting this will ironically bring you peace, because after you accept this, you can put your boots back on and play and enjoy a new and different game.