Darius Boyd and the power of the opposite

|| August 25, 2020

55 comms CEO Michael Crutcher writes about working with Darius Boyd on his new book Battling The Blues

The most popular news stories of the modern era often have a common thread – the power of the opposite.

Audiences like stories in which the outcome is the opposite to what they expected. “Man bites dog” will generate more internet clicks than “dog bites man”, as young journalists know.

The Darius Boyd story is full of opposites. Right from his upbringing through to this last month of his rugby league career.

He is resigned to never knowing the identity of his father while he lost both of the father figures in his life – his uncle and his grandfather – by age 11.

Yet he is a brilliant father to Willow and Romi and a devoted husband to Kayla.

Darius has played close to 400 matches for the Broncos, Dragons, Knights, Queensland and Australia. He has never thrown a punch, never been charged with foul play and never sledged opponents.

Yet show me a player who has drawn more abuse on social media in recent years. No wonder he doesn’t have social media accounts.

And he has battled some mental demons that we all hope to avoid, feeling bad about who he was and terrified of talking to strangers.

Yet he now tells his story openly and proudly, wanting others to know how they can deal with their down times.

But those opposites are not the reason that I accepted Darius’ invitation to help to tell his story in his new book Battling The Blues.

I did that because Darius is one of the most genuine, interesting people I have known inside or outside sport. He is curious, caring, wise and he has depth.

I learnt that when Darius became a client of ours in 2015. The man I expected to be inward-looking, sceptical and scarred was open, trusting and optimistic.

During the writing process for Battling The Blues, Darius produced the journal that he kept for 18 months after leaving football for a stint in a mental health clinic. The journal is raw.

“Let’s put the journal entries in the book,” Darius said. “People have to understand that there are down times but you can learn ways to cope.”

Darius will retire from football after the Broncos play the North Queensland Cowboys on September 24.

He won’t leave the game with the fanfare of others whose career achievements don’t come close to his after 15 years in the game.

But that won’t worry Darius.

He’s learnt not to seek false accolades – he tried that for years and it didn’t improve him.

He’ll finish his last game grateful for what he has achieved and what his life has become. Gratitude has been one of his major focuses since he left the clinic.

The man whose career goal was to play one game for his beloved Brisbane Broncos will finish with a lot more than that.

Most importantly, he’ll finish his career as a man content with who he is.

And that’s the complete opposite to how he started.

Battling The Blues ($32.99) by Darius Boyd with Michael Crutcher is published by Hachette Australia.