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“Everyone thinks they are philosophers in life. But when you meet them away from social media, they have almost nothing to say.”

By Ian Browne Shamrock News

Towering above patrons at the bar where he works in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, you could say that his broad shoulders, and looming 6ft 6 demeanour, would be enough to demand respect in others. But leadership - and steering a flock in the right direction - ­is not facilitated by a toxic tongue, and hulking muscle. And Sam Fattal is not about that anyway. A rugby forward who has played in Queensland and Europe, Sam has a strong desire to share his hard-won wisdom to the youth of this nation, by allowing high school students an insight into the fostering of self-worth, self-belief, while inheriting the noble practise of thoughtful respect to others in their life.

“Honestly, I see a dire lack of respect for others in society today, and I want to empower our youth to reverse this attitude, so they can respect ‘themselves’ and ‘others’ towards a prosperous future.”

At 25 years of age, Sam Fattal is an Australian of West African and Lebanese heritage. Hailing from the Gold Coast, he did his schooling at Keebar Park State High and South Port School.

“I love rugby union. I played for the East Tigers in Brisbane for three years, and Bond University on the Gold Coast for two years. I spent my final season as a professional rugby forward in the town of Pforzheim, Germany, for 2016 and 2017.”

Sam also enjoys a healthy pastime in music and writing; including poetry, while always finding time to socialise with family and friends.

How do you cope personally when the media communicates a society where concerning issues such as ‘ice use’ and ‘violent crime’ stalks daily life?

“Personally, I feel it’s like alcohol, people are just trying to escape their reality. I guess everyone has a choice in life, and you can’t control anyone’s actions. At the end of the day it’s out of your hands, you really can’t control it. I have seen first-hand the alcohol- fuelled violence, where people tend to do things they wouldn’t usually do. Due to my background working in clubs in security, I have seen various forms of alcohol-fuelled violence, and anti-social behaviour. People have egos. One night a sporting team refused to leave one of the clubs I was working for and this resulted in a brawl. I have seen disrespectful behaviour occur towards both women and men. Men trying to impress women in a negative way tends to escalate into verbal abuse. Altercations between partners can be ugly.”

What is it about our youth that requires attention? Why are you so compelled to take this journey, does this stem from a negative experience you had?

“No, I just feel personally the way people communicate and socialise can be harmful, especially with their phone use. When people go out, they have their phone in their hand. People have trouble trusting each other, leaving them with insecurities. There are too many distractions in everyday life: from the gym, to the road, to work. People have their heads down, they aren’t engaging with one another anymore. Everyone thinks they are philosophers in life. But when you meet them away from social media, they have almost nothing to say. School allows kids to communicate with people they wouldn’t usually talk to. It gets them ready for ‘real life’ - the 9 to 5. But the system also leaves a lot of the real stuff out, which leaves them having to work it out for themselves.”

THE PRESENTATION “Get up and go another round!”

“It’s coming from a place from within me. It’s something from the heart.”

Sam’s colourful presentation travels for one hour. Not only does he link behavioural and self-reflection strategies to current curriculum-based personal health topics, he calls upon the positivity and self-determination of his own heroes in life, those who display public humility and selflessness. This includes the sports stars and music personalities the students also aspire to, and those that have spread the message of goodwill - while moving forward in life.

There is no ‘smoke-n-mirrors with Sam Fattal. He is a polite and considerate man whose streetwise nobility and determined empathy allows him to speak the ‘cold-hard-truth’ with harmony.

What is it about ‘you’ and ‘your’ presentation that you feel is worth schools engaging with?

“I’m not someone who went to Uni. My presentation is coming from someone who has various experiences in diverse backgrounds with the trades, in construction, and in hospitality. It’s coming from a place from within me - not via a prefabricated textbook – it’s something from the heart. Like the people on show in my presentation, people I admire and respect - like Aretha Franklin and Malcom X: hard workers who speak the truth.”

In six years’ time when a young person is finding difficulty in gaining employment, going through a rough spell in a relationship, or is just experiencing self-doubt – what do you hope they will have gained from their time with you as a tool in boosting resilience?

“I want them to know that no one is perfect, we all make mistakes. But if you self-analyse; know what you are capable of - and what’s within you - you can make a change and make the best version of ‘you’. And don’t give up! Get up and go another round in whatever field you desire - including work, sport and music.”

To book Sam Fattal for school or club presentations, please email him


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