Stan ‘The Man’ kicks inspiration into Tigers
By Amanda Copp, Queanbeyan Age journalist. Republished with permission of the Queanbeyan Age. First published in the Queanbeyan Age, 29 July 2016.
Amongst the stoney halls of the Queanbeyan Tigers training room, Australian kickboxing legend, Stan Longinidis, gave the footballers a healthy dose of inspiration.
The room was packed with footballers, their friends and families, all listening to Longinidis speak about his struggles with cancer and encouraging them to work hard.
After 22 years of kickboxing and 102 fights, one of his biggest challenges came when he was diagnosed with aggressive bowel cancer at the same time his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Mum passed away last year and I had surgery where they removed two thirds of my intestine and they found a tumor as big as a tennis ball.
“I’m very lucky to be here,” he said.
Today, the eight time Kickboxing World Champion travels the country giving advice to upcoming sporting stars.
“I speak in all different forums, I mentor kids from five years of age to elite athletes that are getting ready for Rio,” he said.
“Mentoring is a passion that I have through all my experiences.
“Wisdom and knowledge is power, the more we learn, the stronger we become.
“My passion in this season of my life is to add something to people and to encourage them that with hard work and grinding it out, dreams can come true,” Longinidis said on the night.
“I’m hoping I’ll be able to convey tonight through my story, that each and every one of them are potential champions and have a moment of greatness waiting for them if they are prepared to do the hardwork.
“Do what you want to do, decide on who it is you want to be, where you want to go and ultimately in the end how we hope to be remembered,” he said.
Tigers chaplain, Scott Minchin, was the driving force behind securing Stan’s appearance.
“I’d known Stan from having a kickboxing background as well, obviously not nearly as successful as his, but we knew each other around the traps,” he said.
“One of the things I wanted to do was to try and impact the club, not just as a chaplain, but with leadership programs.”
Last year, the Tigers heard from Brigadier Dan Fortune, who has a long infantry background and spoke about army values and how they applied to sport.
“The idea is to give these guys access to a leadership program because this club is about helping footballers as community members not just as footballers,” Mr Minchin said.
“Every year we’ll try to build a leadership program and get a community member, a successful person to come in and talk to us about leadership.
“Hopefully that flows onto not just the footballers, but their fathers, sons and mums.
“That’s what this club is all about, ‘pay it forward’ for want of a better term.
“Stan’s worked with Geelong, he’s worked with Olympic athletes, and he himself is a very very successful athlete, so for us to be able to do that, to have a guy like this is just amazing.”
Heavyweight kickboxing champion, Stan Longinidis, and Tigers senior coach, Kade Klemke, chat leadership in Tiger territory. Photo: Amanda Copp.