Glenn Manton vividly remembers trying to impress a blonde by getting into a fight in a dark Melbourne street one night, putting his right arm through two-and-a-half inch thick glass and almost severing it at the elbow.
He was 17, and later the surgeon told him to take a good look at himself. He did before every AFL game he played on a half-back flank for Essendon (21) and Carlton (157) from 1992-2003. People always thought he wore a guard, but it was merely wetsuit material serving as personal reminder of what that surgeon said.
Now 42, Glenn continues to look at himself every day, and for some time has been an inspirational speaker, not about him and certainly not his football and his old days on the Channel Nine Footy Show, but helping others to also find themselves.
It was the focus of a brilliant – at times humorous and moving – presentation at Investigator College, Victor Harbor High School and the Goolwa football and netball clubs presented by the Goolwa & District Community Bendigo Bank, with support of the Bendigo Bank Victor Harbor branch.
Manton made it clear from the start he wasn’t there to tell the participants what was right or wrong. He believes the curriculum for young people has always been challenging because it is so steadfast and feeds so many messages that are often not relevant to day-to-day living.
“I am here to act as an adjunct and say right, you need to learn these basic structure foundations in life, but you also need to be able to think outside the square to develop your own opinions, find your voice, and find yourself,” Glenn said.
“You need to be able to have a commitment to that voice and self, be investigative and take the time to listen and learn from the people around you. They are the messages I like to share because people’s perspectives on things are always going to be different.
“I love what I do, and to be able to reflect upon any session and know that I took as much from it as the group – I always do. It’s a two way street and there is a lot of learning on both ends.
“I spend a lot of time analysing who I am as a human being, and while that is all well and good you need to have people to share that. Sometimes I find it challenging to find people to share my personality with because others are in different modes going in different directions.
“I still have moments where I feel isolated, but I guess every human being has that. I just make sure I don’t isolate myself.”
The comments related to his discussion reference to brilliant actor and comedian Robin Williams, who committed suicide a year ago this August 11, aged 63, with the widely held belief he forgot who he really was. Glenn’s constant reminder is on his iPhone – the sound track of the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Mother’s Milk album, track six Knock Me Down, which contains the lyrics: It’s so lonely when you don’t even know yourself; it’s so lonely.
It was an outstanding message to the community, and it was why the Goolwa & District Bendigo Community Bank, through superb effort by board member Milli Livingston, organised the presentations. It was about the Bank’s focus on helping the community through its Big Benefits Program featuring a special range of products and services.
The phase is Bigger than a Bank, and when the community supports its own bank, the Goolwa & District Community Bendigo Bank sees the bigger picture in life and lends more than money – it lends a hand in real life situations. As Glenn said, it makes a community.
And for the record, Glenn married that blonde he was trying to impress, but unfortunately after three wonderful kids they were divorced in recent years. Another reminder that not everything is perfect in life, but responding is easier when you know yourself.