Pat McCabe still remembers the moment his Commonwealth Games aspirations were shattered.
The former ACT Brumbies and Wallabies warrior was only weeks away from flying to India in 2010 when his knee twisted awkwardly and his n sevens medal bid was over before it started.
But blister loom as the only thing capably of ruining a second chance to taste Commonwealth Games almost a decade later.
McCabe will be unveiled on Wednesday as a ‘batonbearer’ for the Queen’s relay before the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.
The 29-year-old, who had to prematurely retire three years ago after breaking his neck three times, is part of a long list of athletes and community figures to carry the baton in January.
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne will join NBL Hall of Famer Cal Bruton, swimming great Petria Thomas and Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith are also part of the Canberra leg of the relay.
McCabe walked away from rugby in 2014 to avoid the risk of further injury and now works as a lawyer at MinterEllison.
“MinterEllison are the official lawyers for the Commonwealth Games, so carrying the baton or doing something with one of the contracts is the closest I’ll get,” McCabe laughed.
“It was disappointing in 2010 to miss out, I hurt my knee in a club game … I knew straight away as I limped off that it was the end of the Commonwealth Games for me.
“But this is something that’s great to be a part of and it’s only a 250 metre run, so I’m hoping it’s reasonably flat or downhill.”
“For ns competing at the Commonwealth Games next year … it’s going to be an incredible experience for them.”
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszcuk will reveal a lost of 3800 ns who were selected via a community nominations program to carry the baton on a 100-day journey around .
“The batonbearers recognise the achievements and aspirations of ns from all walks of life, from ambitious 10-year-olds to humble volunteers and well-known ns from a variety of field,” Palaszcuk said.
For McCabe, it will help scratch the competitive itch that occasional nags at the back of his mind.
McCabe completed his first marathon earlier this year and plays social touch on Monday nights, but he admits he misses the camaraderie of professional sport.
McCabe was regarded as one of the toughest Wallabies to play the game, continually putting his body on the line for and the Brumbies.
But he retired after breaking his neck a third time knowing how lucky he was to walk away with a normal life.
That will be reinforced with partner Tammy expected to give birth to twins just two weeks before the Commonwealth Games baton relay.
“I do think about it, but I think about how fortunate I was to enjoy that journey,” McCabe said.
“To look back with fond memories about time with the team and the tough times of injuries … this is another chance to be reminded once upon a time I enjoyed a cool journey of playing sport.
“I feel I can look back and feel like I got the absolute most out of the limited potential I had. I don’t think I left any stone unturned … I had some awesome experiences I never, ever thought would happen.
“So I’m content, but I do miss it. Not the game or crowds, just the mateship. Now I’ve got to see if I can get through 250 metres.”