How can I describe Alex Rance? If I was from the UK or Europe, imagine your best Football Goal Keeper. If from the USA, imagine your best Defence player in the NFL. If from South America, imagine your best looking F1 driver. This guy (no I’m not gay – not that there is anything wrong with that Jerry) is the complete package, good looking, extreme athlete and is Australia’s number 1 rated footballer (AFL) playing for the Richmond Tigers.
Yet since late 2012 he has kept a secret from his management, family and football club team. He has been studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have convinced him he has found the “truth”. During that confusing time, he has also had to put up with male and female stalkers (no different from any other celebrity I suppose). Yet his bible study conductor has convinced him that it’s all part of Satan’s plans to distract him from the truth.
He was ready for baptism (his own words) in 2014, though the body of elders in his eastern suburbs congregation in Melbourne said no, as long as he was playing competitive sport, he wasn’t eligible.
You could not meet a more sincere guy than Alex Rance. So to honour his AFL contract to his beloved club Richmond (which finishes at the end of 2015) he is playing every game like it’s his last. He is being offered multimillion dollar contracts as a free agent at the end of this year. He is saying no to everybody based on his religious beliefs. On Australia’s most watched Ch9 Footy Show tonight, it came out that he would not sign with any AFL team due to “outside influences”.
Keep in mind that this guy is an All Australian Footballer. We haven’t see anyone like him in 30 years (I’m thinking Bruce Doull, for those of you playing at home).
They refused to name that outside influence as JW’s. That despite his teammate being a practicing Muslim, who the Richmond Football club and AFL have gone to extreme measures to accommodate his beliefs. But sadly for Alex Rance, the club and the AFL want to accommodate his JW beliefs’, but the JW’s don’t want to accommodate Alex AFL aspirations.
What’s even sadder, is the fact that the reason the elders keep telling Alex Rance that he cannot continue to play AFL is that it promotes self-glory and only god deserves that glory. Yet his bible study conductor continues to promote himself around Melbourne as “Alex Rance bible study conductor” and the other elders in his cong keep saying “Alex is in my congo”. And I’ve heard 2 of his elders loudly pronounce “I went through the baptism questions with Alex”…. Poor Alex Rance has no idea what he is giving up…..
Hopefully, by the time Alex realises “the truth”, he will still have a few years left in him…. Go Tigers!