Inside The Circle

Fatherhood and the Silver Lining to COVID-19

In a time where negativity and uncertainty seem to be floating around, Cory Gregson is positive and certain about one thing – how much he is loving spending time with his new Tiger Cub.

You see, COVID-19 has a silver lining for everyone, and for Cory, his silver lining’s name is Albert (Albie) Shane Gregson.

Born just two months ago, the hold on the SANFL season has given Cory a remarkable opportunity to spend quality bonding time with Albie, at the time it matters most.

“I’m just trying to look at all the positives with this free time that I have at the moment. So yeah, having a newborn and getting to spend a lot more time with them than usual is definitely [an opportunity].”

For the Bays team and community, September 2019 was an unbeatable, and unforgettable, month. But for our beloved Premiership player, the feeling was incomparable to the sheer happiness he felt when he met his little boy for the very first time in February.

“It’s much bigger, much better… you finally get to meet him after 9 months and you get to cuddle and hug him and listen to him cry.”

“I probably just felt love, I was just really proud of how well Lil did.”

“It’s almost like when you see someone put on a really good shepherd and the team gets the goal…It’s hard to explain.”

After spending two and half weeks at home to help his partner Lil with settling Albie into home life following the birth, Cory is back at work full-time.

So, he’s making every moment count, knowing how difficult it will be when football returns and his schedule becomes even busier.

“Yeah, I do [think it will be difficult]. I’ll have to make the most of the time I am at home…It’s leaving work and knowing I’m going home to my little family at the moment… It’s just been good fun so far.”

So, for now, he’s traded in tackles for cuddles, and game day strategies for nappy changing tactics – a task Cory has become quite good at (and has ample warning for thanks to Albie’s huge smile of relief).

“I got peer-pressured into doing the very first one when he was very, very frail…the nurse like threw him to me and I was like ‘Oh my God!’. But I’m okay at it now.”

“Just after he poos, he just breaks out into this massive smile and he just has a big sense of relief. It’s really funny to look at him when he’s smiling, and you can see how he’s just done a poo or he’s pooing at the time.”

Although dirty nappies are just the start of the expected, and unexpected, things fatherhood handballs your way. Cory has now especially realised just how much you feel all of their emotions, whether it’s happiness or pain.

“I probably didn’t expect how much the smallest thing can impact him so much, and just how sad you are for them when they’re actually a little sick and whatnot. That’s probably been one of the biggest things that’s affected me most, when he has that little stomach-ache and just how sad I am for him.”

But if there’s one piece of advice Cory can give to all the new fathers out there, it’s that mother’s know best.

“They love mum. Put them on the heartbeat of mum and they shut up very quickly. I love it. It’s kind of sad how much they love mum, but I guess it’s fair enough because she held him in the womb. So yeah, Mum knows best, Mum is best.”

Looking into the future, Cory is supportive of which ever pathway Albie wants to pursue, Although, it comes as no surprise that he already has some sporting dreams for his Tiger cub.

“Probably the one thing I will try and push on him is gymnastics. I did that when I was a kid, so I felt like that’s been really beneficial for football and other sports in general. So, I might try sway him over that way early days. But if he’s not interested then I’ll try and get him into golf or something…and if he wants to play footy, then I’d love to have a kick with him.”

“I’m just looking forward to watching him grow up as a little man."

Until then, Cory is lapping up all the cuddles, the big smiles and the compliments when he takes Albie out.

And when football does return, he can’t wait to show off his number one fan and have his Tiger cub cheering him on from the sidelines.