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MOCA Insight Night Report - a great success!

7 June 2012

On Wednesday 6th June, the Mazenod Old Collegians’ Association (“MOCA”) gathered for 2012’s second Insight Night, with five returning Mazenod Old Boys who have gone on to play professional sport at an elite level. Bulldogs Captain Matthew Boyd (2000), Olympic 800m runner Jeff Riseley (2004), Fremantle and St. Kilda player Heath Black (1995), former Swans player in the VFL Silvio Foschini (1983), and Junior World Champion cyclist Jack Cummings (2011) were our guests for the evening. The Lecture Theatre was just about packed as each of the sports stars relayed their own experiences, both joyous and painful, as elite athletes. The speakers were asked by Fr. Michael to nominate why they had returned to speak at the College, and each indicated a desire to “give back”, and in the cases of Jeff (he has an exam today) and Matthew (AFL club commitments), this was patently obvious.

The theme was Determination to Succeed. This was most appropriate, as each of the Old Boys had overcome various setbacks, on and off the sporting field, to become successful in their chosen profession. What was extremely clear was the level each was prepared to go to in order to succeed, even if it meant risking further injury. Jack and Jeff, particularly, stole the show as they discussed their extraordinary weekly training regimes. Jack nonchalantly spoke about his routine 200km bike rides to Sorrento and back, and Jeff was equally casual in describing the kilometres he racked up running per week in the lead up to the London Olympics – all 160 of them.

The crowd listened intently as Heath Black spoke about his battle with mental health issues during his long career, in particular the anxiety he endured on and off the field whilst battling his toughest opponent – himself. He is now back playing local football for Vermont in the EFL, and heavily supporting mental health awareness, particularly in men. Silvio Foschini discussed the evolving nature of sports performance training, and the rigorous demands of modern professional athletes. He was also able to provide a great insight to parents in dealing with their child’s sport, with the overwhelming emphasis to heap praise and keep it fun for all participants.

Matthew Boyd is Mazenod’s first Old Boy to Captain an AFL Club, and is widely known for his dogged determination in his ruthless pursuit to be the best athlete and person possible. Ever humble, Matt advocated the need for mentoring and for balance in life, even for athletes, and he is truly testament to this. Off-field, he has recently completed his MBA (Masters of Business Administration), which is an outstanding achievement in itself.

Nick Parry (1996) was sensational as MC for the evening; we’re most grateful for his detailed research and smooth delivery.

The ‘Elite Athlete Insight Night’ was a free event, but guests were invited to leave a gold coin donation to support MOCA’s work with the Oblates in Vietnam, run through another Old Boy Minh Truong (2001). We are pleased to announce that $450 was raised, including a generous 10% contribution from the sale of every copy of Heath Black’s new book, Black.

Thanks to all the staff who attended last night – teachers at Mazenod College are at the core of the Mazenod Old Collegians’ Association and are always welcome to be part of our events. Our feedback today has been overwhelmingly positive, indicating that the evening was a tremendous success on all fronts.

Also, thank you to Greg Collins and his wife Lucy for a fantastic catering job, Dave Regan for his help with set-up, Merry De La Zilwa from the AV side of things, and Matt Johnson and Shane Regan for organising our great panel of speakers.

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