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THE KID - A TRIBUTE TO COLIN SYLVIA

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THE KID - A TRIBUTE TO COLIN by Whispering Jack

There are some truly endearing memories that I have of the Kid, one or two of them off the ground and others on the field of play.

It seemed to me that at every club function I attended, one of the constants was the sight of the much-loved Colin Sylvia, face smiling and friendly, surrounded by admirers, young and old, male and female. There was the promotional clip (Foxtel, I think) with Colin in the locker room beside skipper David Neitz draped in towels and joking. It was as if, from the very beginning, the new boy on the block was being typecast as a larrikin, albeit a lovable one who, in our hopes, would one day  become a hero.

And that was the problem for the recruit from Merbein which, during my childhood produced another star Demon in Hassa Mann, a shy country lad who went on to captain the club, played in a few premierships and was a solid citizen off the field. The new kid from Merbein simply kept getting into trouble. 

There were problems with a girlfriend, he broke team curfews, missed the odd recovery session, left the scene of a car accident (it’s unclear if he was the driver). He was often in the wrong place and the wrong condition at the wrong time but we all still loved him. After all, he was going to be our hero.

On the field, he was something else. The first time I saw him was in a practice match for Melbourne’s then affiliate Sandringham, at the Beach Road Oval, ironically named after another blond larrikan Trevor Barker who also passed at far too young and age but from cancer. There was one brief moment that defined Sylvia’s potential as a contender when he gathered the ball near the centre, swiveled past an opponent and barreled the ball from 70 metres out. Years later when I recalled that piece of play with him at a club best and fairest night, he laughed and said he remembered it but thought the kick was “from closer to 80 metres out”.

It took a year or so to get his career going and it built slowly but surely within a few years during which time he grew in stature to the point that it wasn’t necessary to call him by his surname. He was Colin and we loved him.

The tough break for Colin was that Melbourne went into decline just as he was approaching his prime. Most supporters would agree that his best game came on Sunday, 24 May, 2009 on the MCG in front of almost 40,000 fans against Hawthorn when he amassed 24 kicks, 13 handballs, 9 marks and 4 goals that were just not enough to get the Demons across the line. 

He continued to play good football for the year despite the fact that the club was regularly accused of tanking its matches and again into 2010 but at around that time, the injuries in the form of groin and shoulder problems came, the team was performing miserably as the veterans left while other young saviours who were replacing them struggled.

The contender was also struggling to live up to his potential status as a hero; he was failing and the fun had gone. After 157 games and 129 goals, the Kid departed for Fremantle at the end of 2013.

Things didn’t work out in the West and, amid ongoing controversy about his attitude and behaviour under Ross Lyon, Colin managed six more games that were mostly unremarkable. Career over before his 29th birthday with life after football bringing further challenges for a young man who found retirement from the game at its top level a tough gig. 

Colin was working to get his life on track when his car collided with another vehicle last Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Nineteenth Street and Benetook Avenue in the Mildura suburb of Irymple. He died on the scene and will be buried today.

We loved him to death - our deepest sympathies go to his family.

“I'm the kid who has this habit of dreaming
Sometimes gets me in trouble too
But the truth is I could no more stop dreaming
Than I could make them all come true”

- Buddy Mondlock

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Beautifully put, Jack!  Well done!  That song is so appropriate, too!  Had me in tears!

Vale The Kid!

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1 hour ago, Vagg said:

Beautifully put, Jack!  Well done!  That song is so appropriate, too!  Had me in tears!

Vale The Kid!

I agree - the song really is reminiscent of Colin - The Kid.

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That bought a tear to my eye. 

RIP Col - thanks for the memories. You will never be forgotten. ❤️💙

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Nice touch but I take issue with your comment that "that the club was regularly accused of tanking its matches"  that's just not right.

I thought it was one game only. 

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I still rate him as one of a handful of MFC players I have seen in 50 years, who had every skill. I actually put him in the Dusty Martin class. Power footballer, amazing skills, awareness, competitive. Could grab a game and tear it apart in a 10 minute burst. Unfortunately, he rarely put it all together. His mind wandered during games, and off the field. 

Very, very sad ending.

And Cranky, we did tank, and for more than one game. There was a conversation at Board level initiated by Chris Connolly about "the benefits of losing".  

May you rest now Col, more than you did during your 20's. 

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2 hours ago, Cranky Franky said:

Nice touch but I take issue with your comment that "that the club was regularly accused of tanking its matches"  that's just not right.

I thought it was one game only. 

The comment addresses the club being accused of tanking. It doesn't say that the club actually did tank and that's still an open subject.

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Best read of the week Jack, well done!

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We’ve had the Demon flag at half mast since we heard. 

He and J Watts visited our critically ill son at RCH, had respect and admiration for them both since then. 

Rest easily Col.

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Excellent work WJ.

Seriously devastating. Col was finally finding the peace that he had so long sought and for this to happen was gut wrenching.

Burying a son is one of the hardest things a parent could do. My thoughts are with his family.

RIP Col. 

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I would like to think that these days, clubs are better at looking after their young players coming into the system and helping them to adjust to being in the limelight and stay focussed. It’s a delicate issue but perhaps worthy of a question to ask to JM for the Demonland podcast interview.

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11 hours ago, The Great Pretender said:

I would like to think that these days, clubs are better at looking after their young players coming into the system and helping them to adjust to being in the limelight and stay focussed. It’s a delicate issue but perhaps worthy of a question to ask to JM for the Demonland podcast interview.

Shannon Byrnes and Matty Whelan fulfil this role at the club

I put in the other thread that apart from being a natural footballer Col was a top bloke who was always up for a chat and a laugh whenever you met him offfield

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Excellent tribute Jack. So sad that it required writing.

Agree with Saty’s comments on Colin too, he was an extremely friendly bloke, who was always happy to have a chat and a laugh.

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On 11/4/2018 at 6:43 PM, Satyriconhome said:

Shannon Byrnes and Matty Whelan fulfil this role at the club

I put in the other thread that apart from being a natural footballer Col was a top bloke who was always up for a chat and a laugh whenever you met him offfield

Its good to read that there are two people engaged at the club doing that sort job with the players. Well done. Thanks 

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On 11/2/2018 at 12:09 PM, Maldonboy38 said:

I still rate him as one of a handful of MFC players I have seen in 50 years, who had every skill. I actually put him in the Dusty Martin class. Power footballer, amazing skills, awareness, competitive. Could grab a game and tear it apart in a 10 minute burst. Unfortunately, he rarely put it all together. His mind wandered during games, and off the field. 

Very, very sad ending.

And Cranky, we did tank, and for more than one game. There was a conversation at Board level initiated by Chris Connolly about "the benefits of losing".  

May you rest now Col, more than you did during your 20's. 

Are you a Board member?

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5 hours ago, FireInTheBelly said:

Are you a Board member?

No, but up until 2018 I was often a bored member.

It is widely known that the conversation about the "benefits of losing" took place.

Anyway, back to Colin Sylvia...

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