Ben McEvoy: footy farming and family
As a child Hawks ruckman Ben McEvoy bonded with his family over his two passions: farming and footy. As the 27-year-old prepares to welcome his first child, he reflects on what made his upbringing so special.
He might live in Melbourne to play footy, but Ben McEvoy says the country is in his blood.
He grew up on a family farm at Dederang, in North East Victoria with his family who bred cattle and crossbred ewes.
“Not everyone who grows up on a farm is as into it as much as I was as a kid and still am now,” he says. “It was terrific to be able to share that with my family.”
“I was very close with my dad and still am now which is great.”
From an early age when his mum would visit relatives in Melbourne, McEvoy would ask to stay behind with his dad to help out on the farm.
“The farm was just in my blood and when it was just us (Ben and his dad) everything was cooked on the barbie, dad would load everything up and I could have as much of anything as I wanted, which wasn’t always the case when mum was around (laughs).”
“We spent a lot of time working on the farm and dad would always give me opportunities,” he says. “He’d let me do whatever I wanted and he’d go off and do the not so fun stuff.”
“There was always something to do and it wasn’t like there always had to be conversation and that continues for us now to a certain extent.”
While his dad John also loves footy, McEvoy bonded with his mum Sharon (a marathon runner) through a love of sport.
“Footy and farming are my two greatest passions in life, I consider myself really lucky to be able to share that with my parents,” says McEvoy.
The 27-year-old, who has two brothers and a sister, says he had a very fortunate upbringing, which is something he reflects on now with his first baby on the way.
“You think about what your parents did when you were younger and they lay a very strong moral foundation for us as kids,” says McEvoy. “We certainly knew we had to toe the line and behave ourselves but we also felt very loved.”
“It’s an interesting time when you have your first baby on the way, you know that life is about to change and you take stock a little bit and cherish those moments with your partner that may not come along as frequently in the future.”
“It’s an amazing feeling to know there’s a little human in there and we’re about to start our own family which is pretty special.”
Life in the city isn’t forever for McEvoy. He has a property near Stawell (west-north-west of Melbourne) where he plans to raise his family post footy.
“I couldn’t imagine raising kids anywhere other than the country,” says McEvoy. “Hopefully football can see me out for a fair bit longer, but certainly looking forward to that next chapter of my life in the country.”
“Now that I have my own farm, I have dad down at my place and put him to work which has been really great to have that support from him.”
While his family might be scattered across the state, McEvoy says he feels very much a part of a big family at the Hawthorn Football Club.
“We (Ben and his wife Nicole) just feel really included and cared for and the more you give the more you get back from this place, so certainly a privilege to be part of the Hawthorn family.”