Bruce Dawe's much admired poem 'Life-cycle' parodied the near religiosity of Australian obsession with sport - but for elite AFL sportsman Daniel Wells, God and family take precedence, in his personal life-cycle.
- By Matt Biddle in The Catholic Weekly
Daniel Wells is arguably North Melbourne's most important player, having established himself as one of the league's elite ball users over the past decade.
But there's more to the talented 28-year-old then just football prowess.
He's a Catholic, and not just in name only, but one who practises his faith and regards it as an integral part of his life.
Daniel was not raised a Catholic, and had limited experience of religion in his early years.
Wells' family moved to WA during his youth. While he never expected to be moving to the other side of the country to play football at the highest level, Daniel says he couldn't be happier with the way his life has panned out since being drafted by North Melbourne.
In his first season at the club, he met school teacher Mariangela Laudato. Mariangela would later become his wife and, at the same time, bring him to the Catholic faith.
Before the pair were married in 2006, Daniel completed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) course in Melbourne, attending sessions on weeknights during the football season.
'I was doing it so I could actually marry her in a Catholic church and be a part of it,' he says honestly. 'But then it all made a lot of sense to me, it really made me think a lot about things.'
But completing the RCIA course was not only beneficial to his faith, but also to Mariangela's, who was raised Catholic but admits her formation wasn't strong.
'I attended RCIA with Daniel as though I was this good Catholic bringing someone to the faith when actually I was bringing myself back,' she explains.
After Daniel became Catholic, he and Mariangela were married and, in 2009, the couple welcomed their daughter, Laudate Angelus.
Having recently turned five, Laudate is still the apple of her dad's eye, and Daniel believes it's important for him as a father to lead his family in practising and living out their faith.
'The family rosary is very important for us,' he says.
'There's never been a time where, during the season, I've missed Mass. Sometimes I have to let the coaches know that I can't go to the midfield meeting because I'm going to Mass and they're very respectful of that,' he says.
His own measured conduct is respected by both opponents and teammates and Daniel says that's how he likes to live his faith – by his actions rather than his words.
Read full article: Footy, family, faith (The Catholic Weekly)
Daniel Wells Profile (North Melbourne Football Club)