Madi Freeman - 435
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
There are a few ways to judge loyalty and dedication in the world of football.
You can judge by the amount of games they’ve played or by the amount of goals they’ve scored.
But what about distance travelled?
Now we are not saying that if you live next door to the oval than you’re not loyal, no.
But what we are saying is that you must admit; there is something almost poetic about travelling five hours to play and train.
Five hours … now that takes a lot of dedication; that is a lot of time to have second thoughts and decide to go back home.
But for the Mount Gambier product, Madi Freeman; this is what she’s prepared to do to for the game she loves and the club she represents.
And what that involves for her is making the 435-kilometre trip for trainings and games.
“It definitely wasn’t easy. Glenelg trainings as well as state trainings and then games on top of that. It would be three times a week. My family and I would joke saying that I did car schooling instead of home schooling because I’d do so much homework in the car.”
“But yeah, I would be leave school at 12 to get to training at 6 and then I’d train for two hours and then drive home. Most trips, dad and I would get home at 1am or 2am and then I’d get up at 7 for school the next day and dad work.”
“And then we’d do that Monday and Wednesday and then depending when games were scheduled, we’d have to do that on a Sunday night as well.”
“It definitely wasn’t easy, but I guess it’s just what you have to do.”
And it is a good thing that she and her family have stuck to it, or else the footy world would have lost quite a promising product.
“I’ve been playing footy for three years, heading into my fourth. And I’ve played with Glenelg football in their U17 program and their seniors for the last two years.”
“I also played for Salisbury in the A grade team last year in the SAWFL.”
“I also played a few games for a local league against Warrnambool, but it was just more a come and try rather than a competition.”
But how exactly did someone from Mount Gambier end up at Glenelg?
Well it is all thanks to a friend of hers;
“Jess Allan suggested the U17 program and I registered and started playing there and the senior coach noticed me there and invited me the seniors training and yeah, just got picked each week to play.”
However, Madi did more than just play, she impressed; collecting 46 tackles and 18 clearances in the 11 games she played for Glenelg this SANFLW season.
And this sits nicely alongside the accolades she already has to her name, which include;
“Last year with Salisbury I won the division one premiership for the SAWFL. I was also awarded best finals player.”
“I have been a part of the Crows Academy for three years as well; And I was also part of the SANFLW Crows exhibition games.”
“I have represented South Australia at the U18 championships for three years. While this year I made the Allies team which went to the National Championships round 2 on the Gold Coast.”
The trip to the Gold Coast to represent the Allies was quite an experience for the young gun;
“It was terrific; I had such a good time. I played in a bit of a different position on the wing, however had had some experience playing there with Salisbury. The pressure of the games was so intense, and the contests were fierce.”
“Being able to play alongside the girls was amazing and I developed so many good friends while I was up there; not just with the South Australian girls but the Northern Territory girls as well.”
Now keep in mind; all these games and trainings she has been a part of were in most cases; held five hours away from where she woke up that morning. Which is a remarkable level of dedication to say the least.
“It definitely had its challenges and it wasn’t easy and without my family and friends I wouldn’t have gotten through it. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, and my dad and I became a lot close from all the travel together; and I’ve made so many friends and it’s definitely given me life skills like my organisation and time management.”
And considering the skills that she has developed and the experience she has gained; she has been generous enough to give advice for those in a similar situation and to those who are lucky enough to live a little closer to the oval;
“I would definitely recommend developing and having that strong family connection first and foremost. As they’re the ones that are going to help you through it.”
“Being well organised, especially if still completing school and having work because it’s a juggling act to try and get all your homework done; plus, train and play and if you have work as well.”
“And my other tip would be now that I’ve done it, I wish someone had told me but every spare moment you get when you’re not training or doing homework or at work, spend it with your family and your friends. If you can find the balance between living your dream and taking time away from it then you’ll enjoy the dream much more and you’ll create stronger friendships that’ll last beyond playing years.”
Thankfully, despite the rather tricky situation of having to travel so far for every game; Madi has had some great support behind her.
And with that in mind, these are some of the people that she would like to take a chance to thank;
“My dad as he inspired me to start with football and has been supporting me for three years. Every week he would drive me to Adelaide 3 times a week for training's and games; and living in Mount Gambier which is five hours from Adelaide, that is a fair amount of support and commitment on his behalf.”
“I would also like to thank Emma Gibson or Emma McPherson now, as she got me out to Salisbury which is where my football really took off and her constant support with other things outside of football like family, friends and schooling and helping me balance everything has really helped me get through this year especially with doing year 12.”
At the end of the day; words cannot give justice to how dedicated and passionate Madi would have to be in order to travel those five hours for every game and training. Let alone how great it has been for her family to support her with her football, despite the distance.
The best part if that these long journeys have not been for nothing; with Madi already achieving a considerable amount of success.
And considering her performance this year in the yellow and black; there is destined to be plenty more achievements to follow.
And after travelling 435 kilometres so many times; those achievements are going to 435 times sweeter.
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None of these photographs are owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and have been personally shot.