LEETON'S Todd Darrington never dreamed his choice of career could take him where it has.
However, his job has turned into a dream come true and it doesn't look like the pace will be slowing down any time soon. Darrington has been working at Manuka Oval in Canberra as a greenskeeper and earlier this year helped prepare the wicket for the Australian Test match against Sri Lanka.
After hearing from a friend who works at the Sydney Cricket Ground about a work program at the All England Tennis Club, otherwise known as Wimbledon, he decided to apply.
Within weeks of applying to be part of the work in the lead up to this year's grand slam, he was accepted and found himself on a plane to England.
The working trip will be sixth months long. If that news wasn't enough, Darrington has now also been helping out at the famous Wembley Stadium, but it's recent news that has really started to hit home.
"Only recently when I thought this journey couldn't get any better, my name was put forward to the head curator of Lord's Cricket Ground and he offered me a gig to be part of their curator team for (the upcoming) Ashes series and to squeeze a few World Cup games in (too)," he said.
"That was a massive bonus for me." Darrington said the turf industry was in his blood, with his father working as a greenkeeper at the Leeton Soldiers Club and Leeton and District Bowling Club for many years, as well as owning a turf farm.
Following in his footsteps, Darrington started working as a greenkeeping labourer before and after school, before starting an apprenticeship with Leeton Shire Council in 2013 with the parks and gardens crew.
That was his first official foray into the industry before heading to Manuka Oval in 2015 to finish his apprenticeship. Darrington is humble when it comes to his rise up the ranks, thanking each of the bosses he has had along the way, including Josh Clyne, Justin Davidson and, more recently, Brad Van Dam.
Over the years there's been plenty of hard work, but also the odd time for star spotting when it comes to famous sporting players.
"When I started out ... not in my wildest dreams did I think I would get this far," Darrington said.
"I guess could say I put a lot of it down to my parents.
"(They) helped me make some risks I had to take, also being there for highs and lows of it all. I look up to my dad so much as a greenkeeper."
Walking through the gates each day at Wimbledon is also something of a "pinch me" moment.
"Walking past centre court knowing all eyes all around the world will be watching the Championships (is exciting), but at the end of day it's just grass that has lot of history to it ... I just have to stick to what I know," Darrington said.
"Wimbledon starts in July, so there is a good chance I might cross paths with some pretty handy tennis players like Rodger Federer.
"We are lucky enough to stand behind the net along with the match referees for the women's final as part of trophy presentation. We don't know which royal we will get to meet and rub shoulders with, but that will be a bit of an eye-opener."
Becoming a greenkeeper has also involved many hours of not just hands-on work, but also plenty of studies, which are still ongoing.
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