Let’s get this out of the way first. Dean Rock is one of the game’s good guys.
Written off before he got going, the Ballymun Kickhams star has cemented a legacy as one of Dublin’s great forwards.
At 30, he’s not done yet. Had it not been for the ongoing pandemic, it’s likely he would be sitting atop of Dublin’s all-time championship scorers list.
He’s won six All-Ireland titles and kicked pressure-cooker winners when it counts. In last year’s All-Ireland final, he kicked 0-10 in the final when all the focus centred on Con O’Callaghan and Paul Mannion.
Dean Rock has never warranted a negative or nasty headline in the eight years watching him play senior championship football.
Off the field, his legacy as one of the game’s good guys shines through his work with Stewarts Care, a fantastic Dublin institution that has been caring for those with intellectual disabilities as far back as 1869.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) September 17, 2017
Above all else, he’s one of the most reliable and consistent free-takers in Gaelic games, not just now but in history.
If he chooses to maximise those talents and turn them into a legitimate business, then who are we to tell him not to? We just love begrudgery, though.
So, why the hate for Rock?
Well, put simply, it is down to pricing. That can be the only legitimate reason to begrudge what Dean Rock is trying to achieve.
To be honest, the cost edges on the scandalous side and is hard to justify, especially in these precarious times. Asking patrons for a week’s wages for a bit of kicking practice seems over the top.
The simple argument would be to tell aspiring free-takers to do exactly what Dean Rock did and that’s practice, practice, practice.
However, we live in an era where the Dublin senior footballers are the stars of the show and too many, the darlings of the nation, especially players such as Rock who boasts an almost squeaky-clean image.
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) September 17, 2017
Put yourself in the shoes of a parent.
If your son or daughter is beginning to show serious promise as a placed-kick taker, the likelihood is that outside their own county, Rock is the player they look up to and probably mimic.
If you’re presented with a legitimate opportunity to have that calibre of talent travel to your club, practice with your child and it is within your means financially, would you do it?
I’d hazard a guess most would jump at it.
While the price is clearly a problem, I’d imagine this isn’t of Rock’s doing.
And while many seem to be equating his business venture as typical of the GAA’s controversial ‘Grab All Association’, moniker this is unfair and unjustified.
Dean Rock is an amateur athlete let’s not forget. He’s got to make a living for himself, plus, he’s not going to be hitting frees in Croke Park forever.
“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” isn’t that what they say?
Dean Rock loves to nail frees and judging by some of the Twitter commentaries, he’s a dab hand at teaching the technique also.
A kicking session with Dean Rock is worth every penny. Money thrown away by teams trying to create a "culture" by bringing in bull shit talkers. He came to my club last year and the knowledge he gave our kickers was invaluable. Fair play Deano. pic.twitter.com/fEi3uE0YCV
— Declan Mahon (@declanmahon) July 22, 2020
If he wants to merge his profile with his talent, creating a viable business in the process, let him on. Not only will it be useful for up and coming talent but also gives them a chance to pick the brains of one of the greats.
While I, and many others, may disagree with the prices being touted, the proof is in the pudding.
People will pay for a premium product. When it comes to kicking frees, it doesn’t get more premium than Dean Rock.