Consider this a bit of an open letter about my amazing, wonderful, fantastic brother. Dominic (or Mimmo as we call him in the family) is turning 21 today.
Those who have had the ‘absolute pleasure’ of knowing my brother quickly figure out that in his perfectly unbiased opinion, he believes that he is God’s gift to earth who cannot be defeated by anything … except maybe spiders!
In all seriousness though, Mimmo has achieved a fair bit in his 21 years. As most of you are aware, he is a very talented footballer. From under 5’s at the mighty Springwood United, where he won the highly prestigious Nursery Trophy, he has gone on to represent multiple clubs at NPL 1 and 2 level, which included a trip to Northern Ireland, where a certain Manchester United were impressed by him (their current team could use a solid centre back like Mimmo…)
His football journey, like any journey in life, hasn’t been easy. He will probably tell you himself that the last two years have been his most challenging. Going from the high of a grand final to having two back surgeries for a bulged disk would be tough on any athlete, let alone a 19 year old. Hearing that the condition could be recurring and have a serious impact on playing the game he loves was not an easy thing for him to hear.
But he didn’t let this phase him. Instead he got himself back to fitness and made his way back into the team, eventually reaching the grand final, the game that the year before Mimmo went off in extra time with cramp, watching his team lose on penalties.
In hindsight, it’s poetic in a way how this one turned out. Like the year before, he got cramp, and like the year before, the game went to a penalty shootout. This time though, Dom lasted the whole game and actually scored in the shootout to help his team win the final. The result was a more than justified reward for the resilience Mimmo showed to get from some very low moments to a massive high, and as his brother it was truly inspiring to see my brother go on the journey and succeed.
Away from the pitch and as a brother, Mimmo is also probably the best I could ask for. As much as I hate to admit it he is one of the funniest people I know. It is difficult to describe in writing the things that Dom does (or the random assortment of noises he can make) that put us in stitches, but I don’t think a day has gone by where he hasn’t made at least one of us in the family laugh.
In terms of being a big brother, he has always been there for me and had my back, even when his wasn’t working properly. I can always count on him for advice, whether it be about school or about life. He has probably helped shape me as the person I am today.
And he is incredibly selfless and willing to put others before himself. This would be especially common when we were both younger and he often had to see himself go second before me as I went on my own tough journey. He did this consistently for years without complaint, and for this I will forever be thankful for the sacrifices you made for me.
As for the future Mimmo, you truly have the world at your feet. You’re going to have to make a lot of big decisions over the next few years, but judging by your first 21 years, I think that no matter where you end up, you will achieve so much. I may only be your little brother, but it has been amazing and a pleasure to see you develop into the person you are today.
Happy birthday, enjoy it, have bit of Fireball to celebrate.
Love your little brother PJ