Just the other night I was eyeing off a bottle of red and thinking, this better be good, it’ll be my last glass for a while.
And that’s because this year I’ve decided to have a crack at Dry July.
A typical July during my 13-year footy career was dry as the Nullarbor, so I’m no stranger to giving up the grog.
Fitness tests, skin fold tests, you name it – AFL life makes it hard to be able to indulge on a regular basis. To be able to compete with at the top you have to make sure you’re in the best nick possible.
That’s the great (and challenging) thing about footy. There’s always someone younger and just as eager to take your spot.
Coming from a country footy background in Dampier, there was a bit of a drinking culture. So when I moved to Perth to play for the Royals in 2000, giving up booze was tough. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. But I did it, and I’m grateful for every opportunity footy has given me.
Dean Cox is mobbed by players after kicking a goal. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian
Since hanging up the boots last year, I haven’t had that pressure, at least physical pressure, to perform. So I’ve probably indulged a bit.
And look, I think I deserved a break. But for the sake of my health, it’s time to get back on the bandwagon.
Despite retiring as a player, I’m finding my life is still incredibly busy. Perhaps even busier than when I was playing. I now have a lovely family that I spend as much time as possible with.
I’m the ruck coach at the Eagles, which means I’m still spending lots of time at the club and travelling interstate pretty much every second week.
It’s a full-on schedule and I still need to be at the top of my game. Not only to have the energy to be able fit it all in, but to make sure I’m the most successful dad, husband and coach I can be.
So will it be a challenge? Yeah, probably. I’m used to starting the no-booze policy much earlier in the year and the discipline would’ve well and truly kicked in by July. But not this year.
What’s going to make it easier is that I’m doing it not only for my own health, but for the great fundraising opportunity Dry July represents.
I’m raising funds for Cancer Council WA who runs the Milroy Lodge in Shenton Park and Crawford Lodge in Nedlands. These lodges provide accommodation for thousands of regional cancer patients who travel to Perth for treatment.
And being a country boy myself, I really value the contribution they make to the health and wellbeing of our regional communities.
So join me in raising a glass of water to Cancer Council WA by Signing up to Dry July and/or donate to my page.