BY THOMAS ALDERSON
Professional sportsmen often have to deal with countless challenges and difficulties throughout their career. It is not always the glittering fame and adoration that it is sometimes perceived as and any individual talented and fortunate enough to play the sport they love for a living will tell you that.
For rugby league players, the fast paced, brutally physical and sublimely skillful showpiece you turn up to watch on the weekend is a finished product built on hours and hours of dedicated preparation on the training paddock or in the gym.
No one sees the long gruelling fitness sessions in the height of winter or the rigours of the strength and conditioning the players go through each preseason, to push themselves to their absolute limit so that they can put on a show for you on game day. However, every player will undoubtedly admit that the satisfaction and enjoyment they get from showcasing their talents on the weekend is well worth it.
With being a pro sports star comes pressure and expectation. The players and coach are under constant observation by the paying spectators and therefore a certain level of performance and results are expected. We see it in every sport; if a team isn’t performing well then those representing the club often come under fire, it’s the less glamorous side to the job.
The Toronto Wolfpack, due to their dominance on the field, have enjoyed a season where they have generated a healthy fan base in one of Canada’s biggest cities. The players are seen as superstars and not them nor head coach Paul Rowley have experienced any real negativity throughout their 2017 title winning campaign.
Players are often steeled and prepared for life in the public domain but sometimes life throws challenges at you that you cannot prepare for. This was certainly the case for Wolfpack loose forward Jack Bussey.
Enjoying a great start to life at the Toronto Wolfpack, Bussey was playing some good rugby league when he was suddenly blindsided by the shocking diagnosis of having a probable cancerous tumour on his thyroid glands.
Fearing the worst, Bussey quickly had surgery to remove the lump from his neck that threatened not only his rugby league career, but could have even threatened his life. Thankfully, the surgery was a complete success but what was astonishing was Bussey’s resilience. Such is the character of the Wolfpack hitman that, remarkably, after just one month post-surgery he was back on the field for Toronto and scored a try in their win against South Wales Ironmen.
Last Tackle TV’s fifth instalment provides a blow-by-blow account of Jack’s story; of how he conquered a challenge that no young healthy athlete would ever think they would have to go through. The fact that he did this so emphatically really encompasses both his spirit and courage to keep his dream of being a pro rugby league player alive and there is no doubt Bussey will fear nothing or any challenges that may face him for the rest of his promising career.