Development Manager, AFL NSW ACT
One of Matt Crawley’s enduring memories of Yarra is playing the bass clarinet in his final Year 12 production.
“I remember sitting on stage and bawling my eyes out. I was a weeping mess and I haven’t picked up that instrument again,” says Matt.
“It was really shocking to me when school finished – it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I had just done school and sport and loved it, and felt I knew nothing other than Yarra Valley.”
Matt’s father was popular Yarra PE teacher, Allen Crawley, who won a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay in the Commonwealth Games in 1966 and came sixth in the long jump event at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.
Matt joined Yarra in Prep and, like his father, he too enjoyed sport, athletics and music.
“Music was something different because I was so into my sport. It helped me interact with a different group of people at School and I think it’s important to be able to interact with different people in the real world.”
But Matt particularly enjoyed football which is a key part of his working life today. Based in Coffs Harbour, Matt organises AFL programs within schools to encourage children to play the game and to keep healthy and fit. Most of his week is spent fostering a love of the game in children and helping them to gain the benefits that are an inevitable part of team sports.
He says playing sports at Yarra gifted him valuable skills that he draws on today. Matt also played seniors football at East Ringwood after graduating. Matt is proud that his three daughters have also benefitted from playing team sports.
“Team sport teaches you that sometimes you will miss out, that you will have losses and wins, and that issues will come up that you have to face. It teaches you resilience and can make you tougher in life,” he says.
At the time that Matt left Yarra, he had no job or firm university offer but he was confident about his future, how ever that would look.
“Yarra had set me up to tackle life and to aspire to things,” he says.
“I had a fantastic time the whole way through school. Yarra is a great grounding for kids to learn, to grow, to get some resilience and to excel in life afterwards.”