As the start of the first NRL preliminary final on Friday night drew closer the butterflies in my stomach got more and more crazed. This was the game that saw my beloved Bunnies take on the Sea Eagles for a shot at their first grand final in over 40 years.
To calm my nerves I took to the world wide web and read a couple of pretty inspirational stories.
The first was about the South Sydney Rabbitohs mascot, Reggie.
Reggie Rabbit is the ultra-ego of 70 year old Charlie Gallico. Charlie has donned the bunny suit for the past 12 years. His wife had been in the stand for every home game during that time until she sadly passed away this year.
Even though Charlie was stricken with grief, he still donned the bunny suit a few nights after his wife's passing. At the conclusion of the game, Isaac Luke and Adam Reynolds carried Charlie from the field on their shoulders as a pay of respect to their mascot.
He is a panel beater and mechanic by day and the only mascot in the NRL who isn't paid. I am curious as to how much a mascot would earn? Charlie also does charity and voluntary hospital visits, travelling to Nepean and Newcastle to do things for the Make a Wish Foundation.
The second article talked about the documentary, Slammin' Sam, to be aired on Fox Sports next Friday night. Slammin' Sam is UK born Sam Burgess, who moved to Australia in 2010 to join the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Briefly the article touches on what will be showcased in the upcoming documentary. It will basically show the "other" side of Sam Burgess.
Most notably being the primary carer for his father Mark, who was stricken with motor neurone disease and has sadly passed away and also the closeness he has with his mother and three brothers - all now residing in Australia.
Both articles showed a side to two men I had never imagined.
Every Souths game I watch these two men in their "armour", one in a bunny suit cheering and supporting, the other in his red & green jersey playing his heart out for his team and their fans. In these articles they were stripped of that armour, showing them for who they really are, inspirational men.
Everyone has a story. Inspirational people are everywhere, you just have to look.
P.S - Just in case you are wondering, sadly for players and fans, Souths didn't make the grand final this year. But the tears have dried and we move on to next year. That is the benefit of sport, right? There is always next year.