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The Good (sometimes Lucky), The Bad and The Ugly

Written by Iza Loubser (Ice)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Currie Cup, In the news, Original Content, Other SA Teams, School Rugby, Springboks on 28 May 2013 at 09:43
Tagged with : , ,

Like in any other game or even life, one will have the positive and the negative. I think how you set your mind and determine your long term goals, is what will determine if you are the glass-half full or half-empty kind a guy.

There is a saying, that “Nothing in this world is handed to you. You have to go out and get it! Nobody said it would be easy, but hard work always pays off.

Some time ago I have read an incredible story in RAPPORT. One which left me in tears, wishing so much more for this Gentle Giant.

Let’s take a look at a formidable guy. A legend. Juan Smith. Now, Juan’s road to success is a very interesting story! Juan grew up on the wrong side of the railway track, so to speak. He was also not in a prestigious school, a “scared” flanker. Nobody thought he had talent. He was from the wrong side of town and all the talented players are in Grey. That’s it. Finish and klaar.

For pocket money, the young Juan worked in butchery on weekends. When he finished matric, he simply carried on working in the butchery. Until one day a client walked in, looked at Juan and asked him if he played rugby. The client informed him of trials being played at the Varsity and that they might be short of a few big blokes. He could have decided not to go, but he DID! And that night he played one of those games where everything just went right. And THAT is the fairy tale of Juan Smith. The ordinary boy at the right place, right time.

Unlike the easy happy-ever-after in fairy tales, Juan had to work hard to keep his dream going; to become one of the best South Africa has ever produced. He realised that a once in a lifetime opportunity came his way.He has worked so hard to overcome his injuries. And it was a sad day for SA rugby when he had to retire. THIS is the type of guy, one wish a never-ending career too!

This leads us to another prominent player. Johan Goosen, or Goose as we all know him. From early it was detectable that this youngster showed heaps of promise.  Johan took a supplement which contained an illegal substance. He was subsequently banned for three months. However in his case the fact that he was unaware that he took an illegal substance, was seen as mitigating circumstances.

What gets me personally is that Johan had THE team, coaches’ etc, behind him, yet he still walked into this. Making his own decision without asking for advise. He was labelled to become one of the greatest players then already, should he not have taken proper pre-caution and done proper research, or at least ask for help from a very supportive team behind him? Johan was very lucky to have walked away with this – what if the supplement contained a seriously illegal substance? I for one don’t think he will ever put his lips to a supplement that has not been ‘dissected” by Sherlock Holmes himself!  However, this incident will always haunt him in the media. Goose has certainly stood up from this incident and is really working hard at his career! Unfortunately he also seems to be plagued by injury.

Last, but certainly least. We were shocked a few months ago by the admittance of Zane Botha to using a banned substance willingly and even struggling to find it on the black market, to better his chances of becoming a full time professional rugby player. Zane was also a talented young player, who went to school at Grey.

Let’s look at what he achieved after school:

2012: Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Tuks (Varsity Cup)
2011: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup, Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup)
2010: Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup)
2009: Blue Bulls (Under-21), South Africa (Under-21, IRB Junior World Championships)
2008: Blue Bulls (Under-19)

THOUSANDS of kids would have given anything to have achieved what he did, yet he chose to go the “easy route” as it was not good enough, quick enough? But, with what consequences? I doubt after this dumb move that he will ever have another shot!

He’s time was not right, it might also never have been right – so be it. LIVE with it. But also don’t be greedy. With a CV like that, he could have walked into any International Club and earned a decent living. Now you might say, yes but not in SA. In his own words he said he wanted to become a full-time professional rugby player. He did not specify where or that his dream was to be a Springbok.

We all want to be something, but we have to accept that sometimes it’s not meant to be. I would LOVE to sing, but I was told to mime in the school choir, because I was humming on middle C the whole time. I accepted the fact that I will NEVER make a career out of singing. Instead I concentrated on something that I was actually good at, and I am thriving! It does not stop me from enjoying singing like a rock star in my shower though!

So with all this ranting and raving, what I actually want to say in a nutshell is:

Guys, if you are not in a prestigious rugby school, you still have a chance of making it big. But yes, you might have to work ten times harder than the guy who might have all support systems in place, but it is not impossible. Another good example would be Marcell Coetzee. Never played Craven Week, but through sheer hard work and dedication he has made the Big time!

If you have support systems in place – USE them, before making your own decision that might cost you your career.

And if you choose the “UGLY” route, do us all a favour and get out of the game NOW. You are not just letting yourself and your family down. You let your team mates, the support structures who believe in your ability and most of all RUGBY, the game we love so much, down.

A month or two ago, my little girl participated in her first BIG modelling competition. She was at the right place at the right time, because her “look” right now is “in”. She was scouted by the 4th Largest Model and talent agency in South Africa, but at 10 years she was practising for at least an hour every night. She deserved her first breakthrough.

What actually struck me were the words of the Agent: “NO does not mean NEVER, it only means “not right now” – so if you are not chosen, work harder and don’t ever stop trying”.

I wish all a fairy tale ending in a rugby career and being at the right place at the right time and most of all a fun journey. After all if you don’t have fun doing it, why do it at all?


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