Chris Yarran never played a game for Richmond. If things had turned out otherwise, he could have been a premiership player with them. Such is life. He was a dashing half-backman, and, when in range, he could kick brilliant goals. This transcript is based on this video.
[Footage of Chris Yarran’s highlights for Carlton: Bounces the ball close to his body. Technically correct in the manner he kicks the ball. Balanced and with a low-centre of gravity.]
[That] was me, at the height of my career, on top of the world. But underneath that, there was a darkness lurking that I tried to cover through my footy, my career and my success. But, eventually, the darkness took over. I want to take you all back, to where it all started.
[training footage of an over-weight Yarran in the summer months at Richmond.]
I grew up in WA, never really having a stable home. I remember at the age of nine, my father was incarcerated for 18 years. Mum did her best, looking after five kids, as we moved around from school to school, town to town. I was always struggling to make new friends. The reason we moved was because of violence. We didn’t feel safe. It wasn’t unusual to have fights every weekend and to be involved in them.
Some of the memories that I will never forget is seeing my own mother being beaten, in front of me. Football was my escape. [unclear name] Footy Club was where I found somewhere, where I belonged. Football was something I could get respect through.
I grew up resenting my surroundings and I was willing to do anything to get out. Football was my ticket. It worked – for seven years. I reached the pinnacle. I had gone from a kid having nothing, to being on top of the world. I had it all. But I was only treating the symptoms. And by the eighth year, that was when my life started to fall apart.
I was introduced to meth amphetamines by a family member. Drugs were something I had despised my whole life. And, I remember, as I was about to try ice, this will either be just a good night, or it would ruin me. It ruined me. It destroyed my relationship, my career, my finances, my health – physically and mentally. Physically, I went from a fit, healthy athlete to a slob. Stacked on the weight. That was when I started to miss training – because I didn’t want to be seen in the messed-up state I was in. I would be awake for days, and that started to take its toll.
I remember sitting in my bathroom, for hours, smoking meth. Isolating myself from everyone, and that’s when my mind would take over. And when I didn’t get a kick out of smoking it, that’s when I started injecting it.
I tried every avenue of help, with the professionals. I tried counselling, psychiatrists, rehab. I spent four weeks in rehab, for $1,000 a night, and the day I walked out, I was back on meth. This ended my footy career, and I moved back home to Perth.
[The video continues and Chris tells his story of becoming a born again Christian and getting over his drug addiction.]