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The road to the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 has been a varied one for many of the competitors. But every member of the Australian team we spoke to had one thing in common – their emphasis on the support they have had to reach the Games. With this in mind, we thought what better way to really get to know our Australian team than to get to know the people who have been the most important in supporting their journey?
Beau King is a 2018 Australian Invictus Games team member, competing in athletics and powerlifting. He lives in Townsville and has three children. Stacy lives in Townsville with Beau, she’s a psychologist by profession and now leads a team in child protection.
I served eight years with the Australian Army and completed three overseas deployments. I was privileged to do these, but I suffer from hearing loss in both ears from an improvised explosive device (IED) blast as well as Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) from my deployments to the Middle East. I didn’t really do too much after I got out of the Army, but I got into playing touch again because it gave me a way out from what I was feeling. And they asked me if I wanted to coach so I jumped into it. I coached mens’ and kids’ teams, and also a team of people with disabilities. Then they asked me if I could coach the ladies’ team, and I was scared but it turned out that’s how I met Stacey.
She’s a little bit like me in that we’re both stubborn in the head, but we’re pretty much opposites on everything else. We clash about everything – you name it, we clash about it. But that’s what makes it so good because we’re not the same.
I’m pretty nervous about the Invictus Games, not about performing or the physical side of it, but more that it means an awful lot to me to be taking part. Not many people get to represent their country, and to be doing that after going through everything I’ve been through, it’s important. I spent over two years in the Middle East and when I came back, I was a pretty broken person. I was just angry with the world, you know? It seemed like everything was against me and I was just starting again. And I don’t think I would have come out of it, except that I started to surround myself with positive people. People who could see the best in who I was, even at my worst. They know what I can do and they’re the people who put their hand up and get you where you need to go.
Stacey has been one of those people. Motivating me, listening to me, reassuring me. There was a moment when I almost didn’t make it to the Games last year and feeling a lot of pressure, I was ready to throw the towel in. But she encouraged me to keep going, keep training, kept me on my toes.
The word I’d use to describe her is contagious – but in a good way. She grows on you! She’s incredibly committed to her work, yet she’s got time for everyone and she sees the best in everyone. The only bad thing really that she’s terrible at is watching movies. Actually, chilling out in general she’s really bad at – she needs to learn how to relax! I’m so thankful she’s there with me, that she’s hung around for the ride. It hasn’t always been easy. But I wouldn’t be here without her.
Beau and I met playing touch footy. He was the coach and I was the captain and we actually used to disagree about absolutely everything; training, running the team, communicating. We used to drive each other mad. Then one night a few months in, we went out for a team dinner together, and he sort of loosened up a bit, and we were able to have a laugh. I had thought he was really set in his ways and quite stubborn, but actually he’s quite easy going. I think I was the stubborn, strict one!
Compared to me, and probably compared to anyone, he’s ridiculously patient – he will listen to anyone. He’s also great at making me laugh. In my role, I’ll have had a horror day and he can make me laugh within five minutes. With his experience, he understands my role and the responsibility I have from leading a team in the child protection field, but he also knows how to make me feel better.
He’s also extremely generous with his time and he works so hard. I’ve never seen anyone push themselves as much as he pushes himself. To watch someone with PTS actually try to keep a routine and push themselves with exercise is not easy at all.
With his PTS, and my work and my background in psychology, he worries that supporting him is like work for me. But it’s totally different – I love this person. I definitely have to be patient because I know that if he’s not giving a hundred percent, if he can’t get out of bed or whatever it might be on a bad day, that it is just a bad day. On these days, I know I need to pick up the slack but on the days that he’s doing really well, he just goes off and does everything. When you love someone it’s about sometimes you’re giving 80 percent, and they’re giving 20 percent which is the max they are able to, and sometimes it’s 50/50. I’ve become more aware of how I impact on others, and especially him and what triggers him and what helps him calm down. And it’s actually helped me in work because I can recognise and empathise a lot more when one of my clients is having a bad day.
For the Invictus Games, I think for him, he considers himself to have been at the bottom and he’s not there anymore. He wants to show his kids that it doesn’t matter what you been though. You can come out on top and you can do that. And he wants to meet David Beckham!
I hope he knows that I couldn’t be prouder and his family couldn’t be prouder of him. And that we all knew that he could do it. He just had to have a little faith in himself. He always says, “Thank you for getting me here.” And I didn’t do this for him. I didn’t do the 3:00am mornings for training – he did that. I just said, “You can do this.” I always thought that he was good enough. He so deserves to be there so I hope that he knows that no matter what happens.
Deloitte are incredibly proud to be a Founding Partner of the fourth Invictus Games, taking place in Sydney from 20-27 October 2018. For more stories and details visit our Invictus Games webpage.
This blog was authored by Louise Kelly.